DETERMINATION OF THE 2019 LION BONE QUOTA SUBMISSION FROM TWENTY-FIVE NGOs REPRESENTED BY THE WILDLIFE ANIMAL PROTECTION FORUM SOUTH AFRICA
TO MINISTER AND DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT FORESTRY AND FISHERIES
17 June 2019
Michele Pickover: Michele@emsfoundation.org.za +27 82 253 2124
Table of Contents
- APPROACH TO BE ADOPTED IN RELATION TO DETERMINATION OF DETRIMENT
- SOUTH AFRICAN SCIENTIFIC AUTHORITY MUST TAKE ACCOUNT OF ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION .
- CONSIDERATION OF THE EFFECT OF A LION BONE EXPORT QUOTA ON THE SURVIVAL OF ALL WILD LIONS.
- DEMAND FOR TIGER AND LION BONE IS DETRIMENTAL TO THE SPECIES
- EXPORTING LION BONES WILL STIMULATE NOT DECREASE DEMAND
- SETTING A QUOTA WILL INCENTIVISE INVESTMENT IN DETRIMENTAL LION-FARMING PRACTICES
- A LEGAL TRADE IN LION BONES FACILITATES THE ILLEGAL TRADE
- THE 2017 QUOTA WAS NOT ESTABLISHED ON SCIENTIFIC GROUNDS.
- THE 2017 QUOTA AND ITS SUBSEQUENT ITERATIONS ARE NOT JUSTIFIED UNDER SECTION 24 OF THE CONSTITUTION
- PROCEDURAL AND SUBSTANTIVE PROBLEMS WITH THE CONSULTATION PROCESS
- THE 2018 REPORT COMPILED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS (PCEA) EXPLICITLY CALLS FOR A REVIEW OF ALL POLICY AND LEGISLATION PERTAINING TO CAPTIVE PREDATOR BREEDING WITH A VIEW TO SHUTTING THE INDUSTRY DOWN, AND A LEGAL EXPORT QUOTA FOR DERIVATIVE PARTS IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH SUCH A VIEW.
- THE RULE OF LAW IS BEING FLOUTED.
- DANGEROUS ENVIRONMENT AND RISKS TO HUMAN HEALTH
Please note that there are the three Annexures accompanying this submission are attached as separate documents:
Appendix 1: Expert Opinion on the 2019 Lion Skeleton Export Quota
Appendix 2: The Extinction Business: South Africa’s Lion Bone Tradehttps://emsfoundation.org.za/wp-content/uploads/THE-EXTINCTION-BUSINESS-South-Africas- lion-bone-trade.pdf
Appendix 3: The Economics of Captive Predator Breeding in South Africa
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The establishment of a lion bone export quota cannot be done without examining and understanding the context and major problems with this so-called ‘industry’ which are untenable, indefensible and unsustainable. For more in-depth analysis and articulation of these issues refer to Appendix 2 (The Extinction Business: South Africa’s Lion Bone Tradehttps://emsfoundation.org.za/wp-content/uploads/THE-EXTINCTION-BUSINESS-South- Africas-lion-bone-trade.pdf and Appendix 3.
It is important to note that the issue of South Africa’s highly controversial lion bone trade is a national policy issue which has enormous local and global opposition. As a country, if we no longer choose to trade in big cat bones, it will have no impact on our commitments to CITES. South Africa is under no obligation to CITES to trade in lion bones.
Of concern is that SANBI’s advice to the Minister on the 2019 lion bone export quota is reliant on a single highly contestable, flawed, biased, incomplete and pro-trade piece of research commissioned by SANBI. It is unclear how SANBI went about selecting the two researchers for this purpose and the processes and procedures were not done in a publicly transparent manner. We have therefore also provided as Appendix 1: Expert Opinion on the 2019 lion skeleton export quota which contributes to the evidence base to be considered in establishing a lion export skeleton quota for South Africa.
The fact that the Minister is considering the quota for an ‘industry’ which it does not properly legislate1 for, enforce or have oversight into is problematic and inconceivable, particularly given the strong links of this ‘industry’ to international criminal networks. There are gaps and loopholes that have been exploited, inconsistencies when such legislation exists, enforcement black holes and little accountability or transparency. Moreover the claim by DEFF that welfare is outside its scope despite the constitutional court ruling is not acceptable.2
Further jurisdictional issues and self-regulation have effectively insured the continuation of an activity which has led to wide-scale abuse of an African symbol. This has affected us as nation and continues to affect our position in the international community.
In brief, the key problematic issues that the Minister and DEFF face in relation to the lion bone trade are:
1. Jurisdictional issues3
a. between the DEFF and the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and
Land Reform (DARDLR) respectively);
1 There is no legislation specifically relating to the keeping and breeding of lions, despite this industry having
been in existence for many years. Rather, they are either grouped broadly into either animal criminal law, or
environmental laws regulating biodiversity, or threatened or protected species.2
Justice Sisi Khampepe (with Nkabinde ADCJ, Cameron J, Froneman J, Jafta J, Madlanga J, Mhlantla J, Musi AJand Zondo J concurring):
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b. between national Government and provincial government; and
c. between the provinces themselves.
- Industry self-regulation
- Permitting requirements
- Lack of requirements to start a business
- Failure to consider statements of the court
- Failure to follow PCEA recommendations
- Infringement on public rights and other constitutional rights and interests
- Facilitation of criminality by a government department
- High Level Panel as of yet unestablished and no correspondence on this matter (yet this kind of matter would fall within its purpose and scope)
- Public Participation
- Workers and safety concerns
- Slaughter, Safety and Health Requirements
- International obligations (and international relations)
- Current Court Proceedings
17. Lack of transparency
18. Emphasis and problems with property and commodification of wildlife generally
In response to the Minister’s ‘request for information to be considered for the determination of the 2019 lion bone export quota (closing date 18 June 2019) and invitation to attend stakeholder meeting on 4 June 2019, this submission coheres with sections 61 and 62 of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Act No. 10 of 2004) NEMBA, in which the ‘Scientific Authority is required to advise the Minister of the Department of Environmental Affairs [now Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries] on the 2019 export quota for trade in the bones, bone pieces, bone produces, claws, skeletons, skulls and teeth of lion for commercial purposes, which have been derived from captive breeding operations in South Africa’.
We, the undersigned organisations, submit that, in light of the current lack of scientific, peer- reviewed and methodologically rigorous analyses to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that a non-zero export quota in derivative parts of captive bred lions will not imperil wild lion survival – especially beyond South Africa’s geographic borders, as well as the multitude of other issues this matter raises – the quota should be set to zero. The risk, given that lion bones substitute for (illegal) tiger bones in Asian markets, is that a legal supply of lion bones could expand this demand, thus leading to increased tiger poaching and/or the illegal killing of wild lions across African range states.
Moreover, apropos evidence of poor governance and enforcement over the captive lion industry, and various ethical/welfare problems (which the Constitutional Court – in a unanimous 2016 judgement – linked to conservation)4, the continuation of a quota is not permissible.
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Another (CCT1/16). http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZACC/2016/46.html
Justice Sisi Khampepe (with Nkabinde ADCJ, Cameron J, Froneman J, Jafta J, Madlanga J, Mhlantla J, Musi AJ and Zondo J concurring):
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Our case against the quota is built on a number of key premises, substantiated below. Please also note that the appendix contains numerous reports that are referenced wherever relevant and attached for your perusal.
The Wild Animal Protection Forum of South Africa (WAPFSA) represents 25 diverse non-profit organisations and comprises a body of considerable expertise from scientific, conservation,
legal, welfare, rights, social justice, faith and public advocacy sectors. The members of WAPFSA are:
Animal Law Reform South Africa
Ban Animal Trading
Beauty Without Cruelty (South Africa)
Captured in Africa Foundation
Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education
Elephant Reintegration Trust
Elephant Specialist Advisory Group
Four Paws (SA)
Future 4 Wildlife
Global March for Elephants and Rhinos
Global White Lion Trust
Green Girls in Africa
Humane Society International (Africa)
Institute for Critical Animal Studies (Africa)
National Council of SPCAs
Outraged SA Citizens against Rhino Poaching (OSCAP)
Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI Southern African Fight for Rhinos
Vervet Monkey Foundation
Voice for Lions
WildAid Southern Africa
Wild Law Institute
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1 Approach to be adopted in relation to determination of detriment
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (“CITES”) provides that an export permit for a specimen of a species included in Appendix II cannot be granted unlessinter alia the Scientific Authority of the State of export has advised that such export will not be detrimental to the survival of that species5. Notably “
Species are included in the Appendices to CITES if they are, or may be, detrimentally affected by international trade. Consequently, it must be assumed that international trade has a detrimental effect on any listed species unless the Scientific Authority determine that it will not, by making a so-called “non-detrimental finding” (“NDF”).
In other words an NDF is an exception to the general rule that prohibits trade in CITES Appendix II-listed species and the Scientific Authority may only make an NDF if there is clear scientific evidence that trade will not have any detrimental effect. If the available evidence is not conclusive in this regard, the Scientific Authority cannot, and must not, make an NDF. This is consistent with the principle in the National Environmental Management Act (“NEMA”) which requires that the decision maker must apply “a risk averse and cautious approach … which takes into account the limits of current knowledge about the consequences of decisions and actions” (NEMA, section 2 (4)(a)(vii)). Put differently, in the absence of sound scientific justification for a specific quota, the Scientific Authority must not set a quota.
Proposals to establish or amend an NDF must evidence-based and include details of the scientific basis for any quota that may be proposed. CITES does not specify precisely what scientific evidence is required but the CITES conference of the parties has adopted guidelines in relation to species such as sharks. In 2002 the IUCN published a checklist to assist scientific authorities in making non-detriment findings for Appendix II exports6 . The checklist helps Scientific Authorities to identify the factors that need to be taken into account when making an NDF and the strengths and weaknesses of the available information. (At a minimum the Scientific Authority should consider information such as: species distribution, population status, population trends, threats, utilization and trade, actual or potential trade impacts, population monitoring, management and control measures.)
2 South African Scientific Authority must take account of all relevant information
Despite the existence of these (non-binding) guidelines, when deciding whether or not to make a NDF, the Scientific Authority must act both in a manner that is not contrary to CITES and in accordance with the law that governs it (in this case South African law). As explained below, South African law requires the Scientific Authority to take account of all relevant information, not just information from peer-reviewed scientific studies or from scientists.
5 CITES defines “species” as “any species, subspecies, or geographically separate population thereof”.
6 IUCN (Rosser and Haywood, 2002) Guidance for CITES scientific authorities : checklist to assist in making non- detriment findings for Appendix II exports
An export permit may be issued only
if the specimen was legally obtained” – given the reports it is the case that not all of them are
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The decision by the South African Scientific Authority about whether or not international trade may be detrimental to lions, is a decision that may significantly affect the environment. Consequently in making that decision the Scientific Authority must be guided by the environmental right in section 24 of the Constitution7 and by the national environmental management principles in section 2 of the National Environmental Management Act (“NEMA”).
The following principles are particularly relevant to this decision:
2(4)(a)(vii) that a risk averse and cautious approach is applied, which takes into account the limits of current knowledge about the consequences of decisions andactions; and
(b) Environmental management must be integrated, acknowledging that all elements of the environment are linked and interrelated, and it must take into account the effects of decisions on all aspects of the environment and all people in the environment by pursuing the selection of the best practicable environmental option.
(g) Decisions must take into account the interests, needs and values of all interested and affected parties, and this includes recognising all forms of knowledge, including traditional and ordinary knowledge.
(o) The environment is held in public trust for the people, the beneficial use of environmental resources must serve the public interest and the environment must be protected as the people’s common heritage.”
A decision to establish or amend a quota for the export of lion bone would also be “administrative action” for the purposes of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (“PAJA”). Consequently the decision-making process must be procedurally fair and the decision-maker must, among other matters, take all relevant considerations into account, and disregard irrelevant considerations.
3 Consideration of the effect of a lion bone export quota on the survival of all wild lions
It is important to note that the Scientific Authority must consider the impact of a lion bone export quota on lions both within South Africa and in other range states. Although CITES defines “species” as “any species, subspecies, or geographically separate population thereof”, the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES adopted a resolution on the Designation and role of the Scientific Authorities (resolution Conf. 10.3) which recommends that:
7 24. Everyone has the right —
(a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and
(b) to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that —
(i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
(ii) promote conservation; and
(iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.”
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“the appropriate Scientific Authority monitor the status of native Appendix-II species and export data, and recommend, if necessary, suitable remedial measures to limit the export of specimens in order to maintain each species throughout its range at a level consistent with its role in the ecosystem and well above the level at which the species might become eligible for inclusion in Appendix I;”(2 j – emphasis added)
This means that in order to make an NDF the decision-maker must not only have adequate scientific evidence that trade in lion bones is not resulting in, and will not result in, higher mortalities among wild lions in South Africa, it must also have adequate scientific evidence to exclude the risk that permitting a legal trade in lion bones will not be detrimental to the prospects of maintaining appropriate lion populations in all range states. In our view, the available evidence indicates that both the demand for lion bones and the commodification and maltreatment of captive lions in intensive rearing facilities, are detrimental to the long- term survival of the species in the wild. Legalising trade in lion bones will exacerbate both of these and is consequently also detrimental. The Scientific Authority cannot make a NDF in order to set a quota for the export of lion bones unless it has the evidence to prove the contrary.
4 Demand for tiger and lion bone is detrimental to the species
Large numbers of lions are being killed annually to satisfy the demand in Asia for tiger bones (the lion bones are used as a substitute for tiger bones). Some of the lions killed are wild (i.e. there is a direct detrimental impact on wild populations) but the majority are from intensive rearing facilities. This demand for lion bone is detrimental to the prospects of sustaining wild lion populations throughout Africa because it creates an incentive to poach and to remove lions from the wild to add genetic diversity to the gene pool of captive lions. This demand must be reduced if lions are to be effectively conserved. This has been recognised by several Asian countries8 which are taking measures to reduce domestic demand. Permitting the export of lion bones from South Africa will undermine those efforts and the international co- operation that is fundamental to the effectiveness of CITES.
5 Exporting lion bones will stimulate not decrease demand
There is no evidence that allowing the export of lion bones from South Africa will reduce the demand for tiger or lion bones in Asia. On the contrary it is highly probable that it will increases that demand. Legalisation removes the stigma of illegality and legitimises the cruel and exploitative practices that are used to supply that demand. It also reduces the risks associated with purchasing lion/ tiger products, which will increase the number of willing consumers.
8 China, Thailand and Vietnam
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The pro-trade argument that a legal trade will protect wild lion populations from poaching is based on a number of fallacious assumptions, including that it is possible to “satisfy” virtually all the global demand from lion farms in South Africa.
Studies show that farming tigers has had a detrimental effect on wild populations of tigers and given that lion bones are used as a substitute for tiger bones, there is no reason to believe that the same will not apply to lions. In the absence of conclusive evidence that exporting lion bones from South Africa will not increase the global demand for lion bones that threatens this species, the Scientific Authority cannot make an NDF.
6 Setting a quota will incentivise investment in detrimental lion-farming practices
The intensive breeding and rearing of lions to supply the lion bone trade is undoubtedly detrimental to those captive lions, promotes an exploitative attitude towards lions, and legitimises cruel practices. Setting a lion bone export quota creates an incentive for greater investments in this unsavoury industry and increases the number of lion being exploited. This creates an expanding industry that has a direct financial interest in promoting the consumption of lion-bone products and thereby increasing the demand which creates the threat to wild lions.
In the past the welfare of captive lions has been regarded as irrelevant to the setting of a quota for lion bone export but that position is no longer tenable in the light of the 2016 judgement of the Constitutional Court in the NSPCA case9 which recognised that animals have intrinsic value (i.e. are not just worthy of protection because of their usefulness as “resources”), are sentient beings and that the environmental right in section 24 of the Constitution encompasses both conservation and animal welfare considerations which are “intertwined”.
In a unanimous judgement the Court stated the following (our emphasis).
 More recently, Cameron JA’s minority judgment in Openshaw recognised that animals are worthy of protection not only because of the reflection that this has on human values, but because animals “are sentient beings that are capable of suffering and of experiencing pain” 10. The High Court in South African Predator Breeders Association championed this view. A unanimous Full Bench found that canned hunting of lions is “abhorrent and repulsive” due to the animals’ suffering. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Appeal did not dispute this finding.
 The Supreme Court of Appeal in Lemthongthai explained in the context of rhino poaching, that “[c]onstitutional values dictate a more caring attitude towards fellow humans, animals and the environment in general”. The Court concluded further
9 National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Another (CCT1/16)  ZACC 46; 2017 (1) SACR 284 (CC); 2017 (4) BCLR 517 (CC) (8 December 2016)
10 National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v Openshaw  ZASCA 78; 2008 (5) SA 339 (SCA) (Openshaw) at para 38.
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that this obligation was especially pertinent because of our history. Therefore, the rationale behind protecting animal welfare has shifted from merely safeguarding the moral status of humans to placing intrinsic value on animals as individuals.
 Lemthongthai is also notable because it relates animal welfare to questions of biodiversity. Animal welfare is connected with the constitutional right to have the “environment protected . . . through legislative and other means”. This integrative approach correctly links the suffering of individual animals to conservation, and illustrates the extent to which showing respect and concern for individual animals reinforces broader environmental protection efforts. Animal welfare and animal conservation together reflect two intertwined values.
The “integrative approach” set out by the Constitutional Court means that the suffering of captive lions being bred for the lion bone trade and the lack of respect and concern for lions which the trade exemplifies and encourages, is relevant to an assessment of whether setting a lion bone export quota is detrimental to the conservation of the species.11 In our view it is clearly detrimental and there is no sound evidence to the contrary.
7 A legal trade in lion bones facilitates the illegal trade
The illegal trade in lion bones and body parts undoubtedly has a detrimental effect on wild lion populations and plays a significant role in sustaining illegal wildlife trade syndicates that also traffic in other products such as ivory. Anything that facilitates this illegal trade is self- evidently also detrimental.
Permitting the export of lion skeletons from South Africa facilitates the laundering of illegally sourced lion skeletons and will consequently be detrimental to the survival of the species. For example, the 2017 export quota was 800 lion skeletons but research indicates that more skeletons were actually exported and that many of those participating in the legal export are also involved in the illegal trade in lion bones and rhino horns. The DEA set and allocated the 2017 quota at 800 lion skeletons. But research and analysis of the CITES export data shows that despite DEA authorisation, it is likely that at least twice or three times as many lion skeletons were exported than what was declared and it could also mean that tiger bones could have been included in the consignment. Many lion breeders conduct their businesses illegally and recent research indicates that many of them are quite prepared to export lion bones illegally if they are not given export permits. The best way of reducing these detrimental practices is to prohibit them and thereby dramatically increase the risk and cost of conducting them.
11 Originally coined by Professor David Bilchitz: “Can the Environmental Rights in the South African Constitution Offer Protection for the Interests of Animals?” https://www.uj.ac.za/faculties/law/saifac/PublishingImages/Pages/default/The%20Environmental%20Rights%2 0and%20Animal%20Interests.pdf and “‘Exploring the Relationship Between the Environmental Right in the South African Constitution and the Protection of Animals’ Interests’ (2017) 134 South African Law Journal 740-777.”
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The 2017 quota was not established on scientific grounds
As the call for submissions rightly points out, the Scientific Authority is required to make recommendations to the Minister ‘based on a scientific and professional review of all available information.’
We submit that this was in fact not complied with when the quota was first set in June 2017.
Such a review would have revealed that no non-detriment finding (NDF) pertaining to the trade in captive-bred lions (an Appendix II-listed species according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Wild Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES)) and its potential impact on wild lions yet existed.
The 2015 NDF12 carried out to assess whether a trade in lion bones was detrimental to wild lions in South Africa did not address the relationship between captive bred lions and wild lion survival.
The 2018 NDF13, which did so, was only published in the government gazette after the 2017 quota had been communicated to the CITES secretariat. While it is true that the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) for CITES, held in September 2016, crafted an annotation to Appendix II lions and allowed South Africa to establish a quota, South Africa was not permitted to violate Article IV (2) in the process of doing so. This article only permits a legal trade if a relevant NDF has been conducted. Moreover, CITES itself has expressed that ‘the significant increase in trade in produced animals has given rise to some concerns related to the control of the production and trade, including false or incorrect declarations of the source of the animals’.14
It would therefore appear to us to have been prudent to set the quota to zero until such time as, at a minimum, a relevant NDF had been conducted.
In justifying the quota in 2017, the Department of Environment Affairs (DEA at the time, now renamed Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF)) drew on a 2015 TRAFFIC study15 and expressed concern that poaching for wild lions would escalate if South Africa did not permit a legal channel for satisfying demand for tiger
12 Scientific Authority of South Africa, “Non-Detriment Finding Assessment for Panthera Leo (African Lion)” (2015), http://www.stichtingspots.nl/deposit/files/3591.pdf
13 Scientific Authority of South Africa, “Non-Detriment Finding Assessment for Panthera Leo (African Lion),” Pub. L. No. 1682–5843, 631 Government Gazette 1 (2018),https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/gazetted_notices/nemba10of2004_nondetrimentfindings GN41393.pdf
14 CITES, ‘Captive-produced animals and artificially propagated plants’, https://cites.org/eng/prog/captive- breeding, accessed 12 June 2019.
15 Vivienne L Williams et al., “Bones of Contention: An Assessment of the South African Trade in African Lion Panthera Leo Bones and Other Body Parts,” 2015, https://www.wildcru.org/wp- content/uploads/2015/07/Bones_of_contention.pdf
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bone in Asian markets.16 This in itself constituted an implicit recognition that lion bones substitute for tiger bones in those markets, given that the trade in tiger bones has been banned. But the study on which the DEA drew at no point suggested that unless a legal channel remained open that demand for illicit products would increase. Nor did it argue that it was scientifically legitimate to establish a legal quota on the above premise per se (even though legal trade was totally unregulated at the time). In fact, not a single recommendation of that report pointed to the need for a legal quota. If anything, it alerted the Scientific Authority to the links between South African bone traders and international criminal syndicates, a point further expounded under premise four below.
- 8.8 In order for a decision to have been based on a scientific review of all available information, some form of objective, peer-reviewed evidence must have been submitted that at least attempted to establish what the impact of a quota might be on demand for tiger and lion bones in Asian markets,17 and how that in turn might affect wild tiger populations and wild lions not only in South Africa but also beyond its borders, given that lions are classified as a migratory species.18 A key component of science is hypothesis-testing and result replicability. Experimentation is not always possible, but the fact that an existing legal lion derivative part trade (from captive bred lions) had been in existence since 2007, correlated with a 43% decline in wild lions across their range states (predominantly in Africa),19 should have been cause for concern. While the decline may be accounted for by intervening variables – other threats to wild lion survival such as habitat destruction and fragmentation – the fact that the Scientific Authority did not consider what the impact of a quota might be on the demand function in consumer markets, and therefore on wild lions across African range states, is evidence of a lack of scientific review.
- 8.9 The scientific evidence suggests that the interaction between supply and demand in the illegal wildlife trade is complex,20 especially when a ban is technically incomplete21– in this case, tiger bone sales are banned but lion bones are legally exported with the latter being sold as the former.
16 Department of Environmental Affairs, “Lion Export Quota for 2017 Communicated to the CITES Secretariat in Line with CITES Requirements,” Government Press Release, June 28, 2017,https://www.environment.gov.za/mediarelease/lionexportquota_communicatedtocitessecretariat
17 Environmental Investigation Agency, “The Lion’s Share: South Africa’s Trade Exacerbates Demand for Tiger Parts and Derivatives” (London, 2017), https://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/The-Lions-Share- FINAL.pdf
18 Timothy Hodgetts et al., “Improving the Role of Global Conservation Treaties in Addressing Contemporary Threats to Lions,” Biodiversity and Conservation 27, no. 10 (2018): 2747–65, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531- 018-1567-1.
19 Hans Bauer et al., “Panthera Leo,” The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 2016,http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/15951/0
20 Carolyn Fischer, “The Complex Interactions of Markets for Endangered Species Products,” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 48 (2004): 926–53, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeem.2003.12.003.21 Annecoos Wiersema, “Incomplete Bans and Uncertain Markets in Wildlife Trade,” University of Pennsylvania Asian Law Review 12, no. 1 (2016): 65–87, https://doi.org/10.1525/sp.2007.54.1.23
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8.10 It is plausible, given the correlation between the 2008 one-off ivory sale and a subsequent spike in elephant poaching, that the signal of legally available supply may ignite demand that had previously remained dormant.22 It may also undermine stigma effects – the reduction of consumption in response to legal prohibition.23 The argument espoused in the Scientific Authority’s defence of the quota, along with the argument present in the latest paper cited in support of that quota, is that price shocks are to be avoided, as an upward shock would lead to increased poaching.24 But that logic needs to be interrogated.
8.11 Theoretically, a ban – limiting legal supply – would move the supply curve to the left, which would push equilibrium prices higher. This would result in a decrease in quantity demanded. The second-round effect may well be that the entire demand curve shifts downward, as the ivory demand curve empirically shifted down in Japan after the international ivory trade ban was imposed.25 This would result in lower equilibrium prices and even lower quantity demanded, the most optimal outcome for wild lions.
8.12 Defenders of the trade argue that there is overwhelming evidence that bans increase demand (shifting the entire curve upwards and therefore raising prices and poaching), but there is little evidence to support this view. Wherever there has been a shift in demand for illicit products it has been attributable to a change in consumer preferences combined with an increase in disposable income. And, in fact, the latest evidence shows that elephant poaching has decreased significantly since its peak in 2011 in the presence of a global ban on the trade in ivory26, and the Chinese domestic ban can only complement that trajectory.27 The argument that bans lead to increased demand and poaching spikes is simply not supported unequivocally by the evidence.28Therefore, it is entirely plausible that banning the supply of captive-bred South African lion parts will not lead to increased poaching of wild species, and that a stigma effect may bolster the conservation effect of the international ban on trading in tiger parts.
22 Solomon Hsiang and Nitin Sekar, “Does Legalization Reduce Black Market Activity? Evidence from a Global Ivory Experiment and Elephant Poaching Data,” NBER Working Paper (Cambridge, MA, June 2, 2016), http://www.nber.org/papers/w22314.pdf.
23 Fischer, “The Complex Interactions of Markets for Endangered Species Products.”
24 Vivienne L. Williams and Michael J. ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa,” PLOS ONE 14, no. 5 (2019): e0217409, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217409.
25 Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin, “Consumer Demand for Ivory in Japan Declines,” Pachyderm 47, no. 1 (2010): 45–54, http://pachydermjournal.org/index.php/pachy/article/view/173.
26 Severin Hauenstein et al., “African Elephant Poaching Rates Correlate with Local Poverty, National Corruption and Global Ivory Price,” Nature Communications 10, no. 1 (2019): 2242, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-09993-2.
27 Xuehong Zhou et al., “Elephant Poaching and the Ivory Trade: The Impact of Demand Reduction and Enforcement Efforts by China from 2005 – 2017,” Global Ecology and Conservation 16 (2018): e00486, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2018.e00486.
28 Wiersema, “Incomplete Bans and Uncertain Markets in Wildlife Trade.”
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Farming wild species to supply demand cannot be shown to be universally welfare- enhancing or reducing the illegal trade in such species.29
8.13 While some forms of prohibition are not sensible (especially where physiologically addictive substances are concerned that can easily be grown sustainably), it is not scientifically justifiable to allow a legal trade in a vulnerable species (lion) if the result may plausibly be a demand expansion for tiger (endangered) bones in consumer markets.30 Expanded demand drives prices upwards, which tends to trigger poaching of wild (and even farmed) animals.
8.14 Clearly, little scientific effort was made in 2017 to understand what the economic and ecological consequences of a legal quota might be, especially one that simply reflected the status quo. The 2018 NDF speculated that captive bred lions may serve as a buffer against wild lion exploitation, but speculation is not science. Publishing speculative statements in scientific journals does not make them scientific. How science is done is not value-free either and the process is as political as it is ‘scientific’. Moreover, speculation that a particular outcome will obtain, without considering that the converse outcome might well occur, constitutes a form of selection bias. For example, the 2012 academic paper31 from which the speculation is drawn expresses the converse concern in the same paragraph, namely that the legal availability of captive bred lions may fuel demand for large felid bones.
8.15 A recent survey of the captive lion breeding industry, which the Scientific Authority is drawing on to justify a quota, acknowledges that the ‘exact relationship between captive and wild populations remains evidentially unclear’. 32 Despite acknowledging that commercial breeding operations may ‘at least in the case of tigers, even constitute a threat to wild populations’,33 the authors of the survey report write that it is also plausible that captive lions ‘may provide a buffer effect against over- exploitation’ of wild lions – interestingly, the same language that appeared in the 2018 NDF. But this speculation still has no basis in science or in fact and therefore remains a matter of opinion. Its mere presence in a scientific journal does not render it scientific.
29 R. Craig Kirkpatrick and Lucy Emerton, “Killing Tigers to Save Them: Fallacies of the Farming Argument,”Conservation Biology 24, no. 3 (2010): 655–59, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01468.x; Laura Tensen, “Under What Circumstances Can Wildlife Farming Benefit Species Conservation?,” Global Ecology and Conservation 6 (2016): 286–98, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2016.03.007.
30 Environmental Investigation Agency, “The Lion’s Share: South Africa’s Trade Exacerbates Demand for Tiger Parts and Derivatives” (London, 2017), https://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/The-Lions-Share- FINAL.pdf.
31 Paul Lindsey et al., “Possible Relationships between the South African Captive-Bred Lion Hunting Industry and the Hunting and Conservation of Lions Elsewhere in Africa,” South African Journal of Wildlife Research 42, no. 1 (2012): 11–22, https://doi.org/10.3957/056.042.0103.
32 Vivienne L. Williams and Michael J. ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa,” PLOS ONE 14, no. 5 (2019): 2, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217409.
33 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, 2.
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8.16 The precautionary principle appears to require that the burden of proof is on the proposer of an action to demonstrate that it will have no harmful or irreversible effect. 34 Speculating that the industry may serve as a buffer against wild lion exploitation and finding that there is little to no risk of South African wild lions being imperilled by the presence of captive bred lions, does not conform to the precautionary principle.35
8.17 The bottom line is that a scientific review would likely have concluded that sufficient warning signs were present to suggest that a quota should not be established until more scientific research was available.
The 2017 quota and its subsequent iterations are not justified under Section 24 of the Constitution
- 9.1 At the 2018 parliamentary colloquium, the late Minister Edna Molewa opened her address with an assertion that public representations on the question of the lion bone trade were awash with slanted information.36 The Minister said that Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) regulations were designed to prevent ‘all malpractices including canned hunting’ but justified lion hunting as ‘part of South Africa’s policy of sustainable utilisation of natural resources contained in the 24th section of the Constitution’.37
- 9.2 Aside from the fact that there is no distinction in the eyes of the law38 between ‘canned hunting’ and the hunting of captive-bred lions, section 24 of the Constitution does not support the late Minister’s contention. The relevant clause states that everyone has the right to ‘have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that … promote conservation and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.’
34 Annecoos Wiersema, “Uncertainty, Precaution, and Adaptive Management in Wildlife Trade,” Michigan Journal of International Law 36, no. 3 (2015): 375–425, http://search.proquest.com/docview/1726782679?accountid=12763.
35 Annecoos Wiersema, “Uncertainty, Precaution, and Adaptive Management in Wildlife Trade,” Michigan Journal of International Law 36, no. 3 (2015): 375–425, http://search.proquest.com/docview/1726782679?accountid=12763.
36 Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs, “Report of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs on the Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa: Harming or Promoting the Conservation Image of the Country, Held on 21 and 22 August 2018, Dated 8 November 2018” (Cape Town: Parliamentary Monitoring Group, 2018), https://pmg.org.za/tabled-committee-report/3595/.
37 Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs.
38 Supreme Court of Appeal, SA Predator Breeders Association v Minister of Environmental Affairs (72/10) ZASCA 151 (29 November 2010) (2010).
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- 9.3 Captive lion breeding and the trophy hunting of captive lions does not promote conservation. Even though SAPA39 and others40 have attempted to make the case that captive lions can be reintroduced to the wild, no peer-reviewed science supports this.41The 2018 NDF, on which captive lion breeding continues to be justified, did not attempt to make its case in that respect on conservation grounds. SAPA’s own lion management plan recognises problems of inbreeding in the industry,42 which further undermines the case for direct conservation value.
- 9.4 The 2018 NDF’s assertion that the captive lion breeding industry may serve as a buffer against wild lion exploitation43 – arguably an indirect conservation benefit – also remains speculative at best and ignores the converse warning in the journal article44from which it appears to be derived. Section 24, b (ii), of the Constitution therefore does not support the captive lion breeding industry.
- 9.5 Neither can the industry be justified under ‘ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.’ Captive lions are essentially treated as domesticated cattle, which does not secure ecologically sustainable development.45 The small private holdings that secure the cats constitute a form of habitat fragmentation that would be resolved if that land were connected to other farms where economically and geographically feasible. This land could then be converted to nature reserves that may be able to support wild-managed or wild lion populations. Such conversion may serve conservation purposes and create sustainable wildlife-orientated jobs on a significantly larger scale than the captive breeding industry46, which supports a maximum of 1,162 jobs. 47 Captive lion breeding in no way resembles ecologically sustainable
39 SAPA, “9 Myths about Captive-Bred Lions,” South African Predator Association, accessed March 28, 2018,
40 Jacqueline Abell and David Youldon, “Attending to the ‘biological, Technical, Financial and Sociological Factors’ of Lion Conservation: A Response to Hunter et Al.,” ORYX 47, no. 1 (2013): 25–26, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605312001548.
41 Luke TB Hunter et al., “Walking with Lions: Why There Is No Role for Captive-Origin Lions Panthera Leo in Species Restoration,” ORYX 47, no. 1 (2013): 19–24, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605312000695; Luke TB Hunter et al., “No Science, No Success and Still No Need for Captive-Origin Lion Reintroduction: A Reply to Abell & Youldon,” ORYX 47, no. 1 (2013): 27–28, https://doi.org/10.1017/S003060531200155X.
42 SAPA, “Management Plan for Captive Lions: A National Strategy for the Captive Lion (Panthera Leo) Industry in South Africa,” 2017, http://www.sapredators.co.za/images/photos/SAPA-FINAL-MANAGEMENT-PLAN-FOR- CAPTIVE-LIONS-Oct2017.pdf
43 Scientific Authority of South Africa, Non-detriment finding assessment for Panthera leo (African lion), 2018.44 Lindsey et al., “Possible Relationships between the South African Captive-Bred Lion Hunting Industry and the Hunting and Conservation of Lions Elsewhere in Africa.”
45 It is important to note an assumption here that simply because land is given over to various activities associated with captive lion breeding, it somehow constitutes ecological sustainability. That may be true in the case of hunting farms, but to say that the conservation of the land is necessarily dependent on hunting captive-bred lions is untested and may prove untrue.
46 Ross Harvey, “The Economics of Captive Predator Breeding in South Africa” (Cape Town, 2018), https://saiia.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Harvey_180818_WorkingPaper_PredatorBreedingSA.pdf.
47 Peet Van Der Merwe et al., “The Economic Significance of Lion Breeding Operations in the South African Wildlife Industry,” International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation 9, no. 11 (2017): 314–22, https://doi.org/10.5897/IJBC2017.1103.
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development or conservation advancement. It therefore cannot pass muster under Section 24 of the Constitution.
- 9.6 As the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee remarked at the 2018 colloquium, it was increasingly dubitable that South Africa could justify its captive lion breeding industry under the doctrine of ‘sustainable use’ despite the country’s general support of that principle. This was especially the case if Safari Club International, the Dallas Safari Club, the IUCN,48 the Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation, and the Custodians of Professional Hunting in Southern Africa – all organisations which subscribe to sustainable use – condemned the industry.49
- 9.7 A further consideration in this respect is that the right expounded in section 24 has been interpreted by the Constitutional Court as being connected to animal welfare. Based on the integrative approach, the ruling ‘correctly links the suffering of individual animals to conservation and illustrates the extent to which showing respect and concern for individual animals reinforces broader environmental protection efforts.’50The abuses of animal welfare in the industry are well documented, and numerous charges have recently been laid that attest to this reality.51
- 9.8 It is inconceivable that, in light of the above argument and the Constitutional Court ruling, the Minister, the Scientific Authority and the DEFF would continue to justify the industry under the principles enshrined in Section 24 of our Constitution.
- 9.9 In addition the captive big cat industry infringes on other constitutional rights and is also negatively impacting on tourism and the many people who are reliant on the tourism industry as a means to survive.
10 Procedural and substantive problems with the consultation process
10.1The last point mentioned above is reinforced by the fact that no due process appears to have been followed in expanding the quota from 800 in 2017 to 1,500 in 2018. At the 2019 public stakeholder consultation meeting held on 4 June 2019, Mr Mpho Tjiane explained that while the 800 skeleton quota was meant to reflect available supply, the department had underestimated and it turned out that the volume which left the
48 International Union for the Conservation of Nature, “Motion 009: Terminating the Hunting of Captive-Bred Lions (Panthera Leo) and Other Predators and Captive Breeding for Commercial, Non-Conservation Purposes,” 2016, https://portals.iucn.org/congress/motion/009.
49 Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs, “Report of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs on the Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa: Harming or Promoting the Conservation Image of the Country, held on 21 and 22 August 2018, Dated 8 November 2018.”
50 J Khampepe, “National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Another  ZACC 46,” 2016, http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZACC/2016/46.html#_ftn91.
51 Amy P Wilson, “South Africa’s Fallen Pride: How Law and Government Fail to Protect Lions,” The Revelator, May 23, 2019, https://therevelator.org/lion-hunting-south-africa/
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country in 2016 was closer to 1,800 than 800, hence the expansion in 2018. He also explained that only 798 skeletons were actually exported, all to Vietnam, in 2018.
10.2The 2018 quota of 1,500 was eventually reduced back to 800 after a public outcry and the 2018 parliamentary colloquium, the outcome of which was a parliamentary report52 that explicitly resolved that the department should revise the quota. But both the 1,500 figure and the revision back to 800 were determined without public consultation or the requisite procedural processes as required.
10.3The determination of a 2019 quota appears to be a foregone conclusion. The department is continuing discussions on the matter as if the parliamentary report did not explicitly call for a review of legislation with a view to shutting the industry down. A continued non-zero quota is incompatible with that particular instruction. Moreover, the pending NSPCA court case against the government, which argues that the proliferation of the industry, actively supported by the state through a non-zero quota, is causing serious harm to captive lions, which, according to the Constitutional Court ruling of 2017, is a conservation issue, as welfare is inviolably linked to conservation.
10.4Perhaps of greatest concern is the explicit and unjustified rejection of a number of reports that have been produced.
10.5The EMS/BAT report53, which provides hard evidence of connections between South African lion bone traders and international criminal syndicates, was dismissed as not being of significant concern. We urgently appeal that the criminal connections would be recognised as fact. The idea that a legal quota will prevent such connections is naïve in the extreme. A parallel illegal market for lion bones already exists, and a quota only serves to offer a laundering channel for illegal supply to enter the market more easily. See Appendix 2: The Extinction Business: South Africa’s Lion Bone Trade.
10.6A report produced by the South African Institute of International Affairs54 that quantifies the opportunity costs associated with the industry was similarly not referenced on 4 June 2019, though it and the EMS/BAT report carried significant weight in Parliament’s resolutions to terminate the industry. See Appendix 3: The Economics of Captive Predator Breeding in South Africa
10.7The department appears committed to the view that establishing a High-Level Panel will address the parliamentary report’s resolutions, but the terms of reference for this panel have not yet been made publicly available and the process of appointment is not
52 Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs, “Report of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs on the Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa: Harming or Promoting the Conservation Image of the Country, Held on 21 and 22 August 2018, Dated 8 November 2018” (Cape Town: Parliamentary Monitoring Group, 2018), https://pmg.org.za/tabled-committee-report/3595/.
53 EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, “The Extinction Business: South Africa’s Lion Bone Trade,” 2018, https://emsfoundation.org.za/wp-content/uploads/THE-EXTINCTION-BUSINESS-South-Africas-lion-bone- trade.pdf
54 Ross Harvey, “The Economics of Captive Predator Breeding in South Africa” (Cape Town, 2018), https://saiia.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Harvey_180818_WorkingPaper_PredatorBreedingSA.pdf.
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transparent. Qualifying criteria of being committed to ‘sustainable use’ is a smokescreen, as that term is highly contested, undefined and the interpretation of which by DEFF is highly problematic.
10.8This raises a further process point that the SANBI/DEFF is only going to consider what it deems to count as scientific information or articles that have appeared in peer- reviewed journals as their gold standard for determining a quota. Most peer-reviewed articles in this domain rely on reports55 that do not appear in the published academic literature per se. These reports also inform CITES. Moreover, if the SANBI/DEFF is going to consider peer-reviewed papers, then we urge all members to read the articles56 that caution against trying to farm one’s way out of a trade-induced problem. Others strongly caution against the continuation of captive lion breeding specifically.57
10.9NGOs and civil society play a pivotal role in informing public policy decisions and these cannot merely be dismissed on the grounds that the information does not appear in peer-reviewed journals. Scientific decision-making considers all the available information. DEFF and SANBI need to provide further information as to where they derive the criteria from by which they will evaluate public submissions on this question.
10.10 This is especially urgent because determining a quota is not merely a CITES undertaking that occurs in a vacuum. It is a national policy issue, and as such must follow the principles outlined in NEMBA, especially Chapter 3, section 39, 1(a) which states that the Biodiversity framework must: ‘provide for an integrated, co-ordinated and uniform approach to biodiversity management by organs of state in all spheres of government, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, local communities, and other stakeholders.’58 Therefore all inputs are to be taken seriously. While it is
55 Vivienne L Williams et al., “Bones of Contention: An Assessment of the South African Trade in African Lion Panthera Leo Bones and Other Body Parts,” 2015, https://www.wildcru.org/wp- content/uploads/2015/07/Bones_of_contention.pdf; Willow Outhwaite, “The Legal and Illegal Trade in African Lions: A Study in Support of Decision 17.241 E)” (Geneva, 2018), https://cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/com/ac/30/Inf/E-AC30-Inf-15x.pdf.
56 Laura Tensen, “Under What Circumstances Can Wildlife Farming Benefit Species Conservation?,” Global Ecology and Conservation 6 (2016): 286–98, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2016.03.007; Richard Damania and Erwin H. Bulte, “The Economics of Wildlife Farming and Endangered Species Conservation,” Ecological Economics 62, no. 3–4 (2007): 461–72, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2006.07.007; Brant Abbott and G. Cornelis van Kooten, “Can Domestication of Wildlife Lead to Conservation? The Economics of Tiger Farming in China,” Ecological Economics 70, no. 4 (February 2011): 721–28, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.11.006; Brian Gratwicke et al., “The World Can’t Have Wild Tigers and Eat Them, Too,” Conservation Biology 22, no. 1 (2008): 222–23, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523- 1739.2007.00802.x; Ross T. Pitman et al., “The Conservation Costs of Game Ranching,” Conservation Letters10, no. 4 (2017): 402–12, https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12276.
57 Richard A Schroeder, “Moving Targets: The ‘Canned’ Hunting of Captive-Bred Lions in South Africa,” African Studies Review, 2018, 1–25, https://doi.org/10.1017/asr.2017.94; Hans Bauer et al., “Lions in the Modern Arena of CITES,” ed. Daniel Miller, Conservation Letters, no. January (2018): 1–8, https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12444; Hodgetts et al., “Improving the Role of Global Conservation Treaties in Addressing Contemporary Threats to Lions.”
58 Republic of South Africa, “National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act of 2004,” Pub. L. No. 10, National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (2004), 42, https://www.sanbi.org/wp- content/uploads/2018/04/biodiversityact2004pdf.pdf
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clear from NEMBA that the state must enact policy that is consistent with the international treaties that it is a signatory to, it must not do this in a narrow way. It is explicitly required to reflect regional cooperation. The fact that the 2018 NDF gives no consideration to the potential impact of South Africa’s captive lion industry on endangered lions in the region appears to be at odds with this requirement.
10.11 The position taken by DEFF/SANBI towards stakeholder input is evidently biased, exclusive (non-integrative) and instrumentalist. NEMBA’s own definition of ‘sustainable’ is the ‘use of such resource in a way and at a rate that would not lead to its long-term decline; would not disrupt the ecological integrity of the ecosystem in which it occurs; and would ensure its continued use to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations of people’.59 The underlying ideology is utilitarian, willing to sacrifice welfare and ecological integrity in the broader system on the altar of vested commercial interests. Ignoring the constitutional court’s ruling that welfare and conservation are inextricably linked shows the SANBI/DEFF approach to privilege dominant and powerful interests, such as those of traders and hunters, thereby excluding and marginalising other stakeholders, non-human wild animals and the ethics and duty of care. DEFF’s unsustainable and harmful policies are ensuring that our wildlife heritage is being prostituted instead of being protected. This is leading to ecosystem decline. Not only wild animals, but all South Africans will have to deal with the consequences thereof.
The 2018 report compiled by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Environmental Affairs (PCEA) explicitly calls for a review of all policy and legislation pertaining to captive predator breeding with a view to shutting the industry down, and a legal export quota for derivative parts is incompatible with such a view.
11.1 The DEA was instructed to report quarterly to Parliament on its progress in respect of the above resolution. In its first report of January 2019, it revealed that the industry is still thriving. The department attempted to defend the industry by arguing that it contributes to fulfilling its mandate to conserve biodiversity, enforce international agreements and protect whole ecosystems. This is a flimsy defence, as shown above.
11.2 The DEA also failed to mention, in January 2019, that the explicit resolution from parliament instructed it to conduct a review of legislation with a view to shutting the industry down. It further seems to have conveniently overlooked the IUCN’s explicit 2016 motion60 to compel the South African government to terminate the industry. But it has at least proposed an amendment to regulations covering threatened or protected species that would see issuing authorities – the Provincial Environmental Departments – refusing to grant a permit for breeding listed large predators unless they could ‘demonstrate
59 Ibid., 22.
60 International Union for the Conservation of Nature, “Motion 009: Terminating the Hunting of Captive-Bred Lions (Panthera Leo) and Other Predators and Captive Breeding for Commercial, Non-Conservation Purposes.”
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conservation value’. What’s unclear, though, is how such value will be identified or verified.
11.3 In respect of the audit it was instructed to carry out, the Department admitted that it still does not know exactly how many breeding facilities there are, or how many big cats are being held in captivity. It inspected a total of 227 facilities between 2015 and 2018, 88 of which (38%) were found to have violated existing regulations. But the department has re-issued permits for most of these facilities. It did not provide reasons for doing so, which provides further evidence of the lack of governance oversight of the industry.61 As a case in point of the institutional black hole in which the industry operates, with no government department apparently willing to take responsibility for welfare issues, the NSPCA had to lay charges against a member of the South African Predator Association (SAPA) Council, Jan Steinman, for the deplorable neglect of 108 lions on his farm.62 SAPA purportedly works to maintain a ‘healthy and sustainable predator breeding and hunting industry in South Africa.’
11.4 For the above reason alone, a quota should not have been established. You cannot regulate quantities that are unknown and clearly misgoverned. A quota is typically established on the premise of a ‘maximum sustainable yield’ (MSY), which requires quantities to be known and future survival probability to be considered before a relevant ‘total allowable off-take’ can be determined. If this yield cannot be accurately and reliably measured, then the precautionary principle suggests that no quota should be established.
11.5 The department is in the process of establishing a high-level panel to conduct a more comprehensive legislative and policy review of the industry, though its operating terms have not yet been established. The bottom line is that establishing a new quota is fundamentally incompatible with moving towards terminating the industry, which – in light of the extensive evidence provided at the parliamentary hearing – is the only feasible governance option for South Africa.
12 The rule of law is being flouted
12.1 The 2018 Extinction Business Report highlighted that the premises on which a quota was established (in 2017) were dubitable, especially given the documented, verified links between South African lion bone traders and known criminal syndicates.
61 Ross Harvey, “South Africa Kicks the Can down the Road on Captive Predator Breeding,” The Conversation, 2019, https://theconversation.com/south-africa-kicks-the-can-down-the-road-on-captive-predator-breeding- 113853.
62 Brigit Katz, ‘108 Neglected Lions Found on South African Breeding Farm’, Smithsonian, 10 May 2019,https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/108-neglected-lions-found-south-african-breeding-farm- 180972146/, accessed 11 June 2019.
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12.2 The links between lion bone traders and known criminal syndicates and illicit value chains are a major source of concern and suggest that the quota should be abandoned.
12.3 Part of the logic for allowing and maintaining a quota was to avoid the development of a parallel illegal market. This argument was reiterated at the consultation meeting on 4 June 2019. One part of the research commissioned by SANBI, recently published, notes that some interviewees (members of the captive lion breeding industry) had ‘expressed concerns that some frustrated aspiring sellers might resort to other (potentially illegal) trade channels. All these factors point to a distinct threat of the development of a parallel illegal market.’63 It further states that some respondents had at some stage sold skeletons directly via non-South African traders in Southeast Asia. The authors took this as an indication ‘of the potential for parallel illegal markets to evolve and the potential to ‘launder’ illegal products.’64 They write further: ‘The fact that a large proportion of respondents have stated that they will seek ‘other markets’ for lion bones and other body parts signals the potential for a parallel illegal market to develop if quotas are viewed by industry participants as excessively restrictive.’65 The authors are clearly suggesting that closing the legal trade or narrowing the quota will precipitate the development of a parallel illegal market.
12.4 There are two serious problems with this line of argument. First, it implies that the quota should remain as some form of insurance in case industry members carry out the threat of resorting to illegality. This is not science, but rather a case of being held to ransom by the vested interests of a handful of lion breeders who seem willing to engage in illegal activity and bring South Africa’s conservation reputation into further disrepute. Second, it ignores the very obvious links to parallel illegal markets that already exist, of serious concern given that South Africa’s (legal) lion bones are invariably being sold as tiger bones in an illegal market.
12.5 As mentioned above, in the initial communication of the quota decision submitted to the CITES secretariat in June 2017, the DEA cited a 2015 TRAFFIC paper66 in support of establishing the quota. That paper recognised that illegal activities were already present in the midst of legal sales of lion bone from South Africa. It noted that since it was unlikely that the trade in lion bones would banned in South Africa, or ‘that syndicates, traders and Southeast Asian consumers will cease consumptive practices involving lions and tigers, the pragmatic blanket recommendation is that measures currently in place to impede opportunities for illegal activities are strengthened across the entire supply chain from lion breeding to skeleton exports.’67 That paper stated that its authors had not clearly established what happens to lion bones once they reached Asia, and that this was worthy of further investigation. It did, however, explicitly state that the lion bone trade in South
63 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa,” 16.
64 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, 19.
65 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, 29.
66 Williams et al., “Bones of Contention: An Assessment of the South African Trade in African Lion Panthera Leo Bones and Other Body Parts.”
67 Williams et al., “Bones of Contention : An Assessment of the South African Trade in African Lion Panthera Leo Bones and Other Body Parts,” xii.
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Africa was located within a network of syndicates that operate ‘both illegally and legally’.68 ‘The illegal trade in Lions in South Africa usually involves restricted activities for which offenders are not in possession of permits to breed, keep, hunt, catch, sell, convey or export live animals or parts thereof.’69 It was therefore already patently clear that a parallel illegal trade existed before the quota was established in 2017, while the trade in lion bones in South Africa was legal, and the establishment of a restrictive quota (or even an expansive quota) was not likely to change this. The laundering mechanisms were already well established, and it appears that the quota has only strengthened this. To paint the quota as a preventive mechanism against illegal parallel markets therefore appears to be disingenuous, especially given that one of the authors of the 2019 study70was also one of the same authors of the 2015 Traffic report.
12.6 Evidence of this parallel market was further explicitly noted in the parliamentary colloquium of 2018. The final report noted that the EMS/BAT study71 revealed, ‘how the minister, her department and conservation agencies support and grow a trade, which has strong links to international criminal networks, is providing a legal channel for the trafficking of illegal big cat parts, and is fuelling the demise of wild big cat populations.’72
12.7 The link to organised crime is important for the theoretical economics that should inform policy decisions pertaining to a legal trade. By way of example, consider this: In June 2011, two Thai men (Phichet Thongpai and Punpitak Chunchom) were arrested for possession of lion bones. They worked for the Xaysavang Export-Import Company, based in Lao P.D.R., and confessed that the main business of the company was to trade in lion bones, supplied by the captive breeding industry. A month later, Chumlong Lemtongthai, a Thai national who worked for Xaysavang, was arrested at the same residence. Lemtongthai’s record of rhino poaching is well recorded in the literature. While Lemtongthai was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment for his role in the rhino horn trade, the charges against Chunchom were dropped. The court case revealed that Xaysavang Company traded in rhino horn, lion bones, teeth and claws.73 In 2013, the U.S. government offered a $1 million reward for the dismantling of the Xaysavang network, which was said to be Asia’s largest wildlife crime syndicate.74 Lemtongthai told the court that Marthinus Philippus (Marnus) Steyl – a former member of the SAPA council – had68 Williams et al., “Bones of Contention : An Assessment of the South African Trade in African Lion Panthera Leo Bones and Other Body Parts.”
69 Williams et al.
70 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa.”
71 EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, “The Extinction Business: South Africa’s Lion Bone Trade,” 2018,
72 Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs, “Report of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs on the Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa: Harming or Promoting the Conservation Image of the Country, Held on 21 and 22 August 2018, Dated 8 November 2018.”
73 Vivienne L Williams et al., “A Roaring Trade? The Legal Trade in Panthera Leo Bones from Africa to East- Southeast Asia,” PLoS ONE 12, no. 10 (2017): 1–22, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185996.
74 Thomas Fuller, “U.S. Offers Reward in Wildlife-Trade,” The New York Times, November 13, 2013, https://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/14/world/asia/us-to-offer-reward-in-wildlife-trafficking-fight.html.
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offered to supply bones to him. ‘Two other council members in 2016/17 had also previously been charged in connection with illegal rhino hunting and associated activity.’75 Steyl is indeed in the business of trading lion bones, and sought a court order against the Free State Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs on 23 June 2017 to compel them to allow him to export bones even prior to the finalisation of the export quota (a commitment made by South Africa at the 17th CITES Conference of the Parties in 2016).76 Part of Steyl’s court documents was his application for a permit to export lion bones to Somok Phaimany. Phaimany and Steyl has known links to Vixay Keosavang, the owner of Xaysavang, an importer of lion bones.77
12.8 The EMS/BAT Extinction Business report provides hard evidence of the strong connection between international criminal syndicates, rhino horn syndicates and the trade in South African lion bones (see Appendix 2: https://emsfoundation.org.za/wp- content/uploads/THE-EXTINCTION-BUSINESS-South-Africas-lion-bone-trade.pdf). Operating a legal quota only provides cover for such activity, the very opposite of operating as a preventive mechanism for such parallel trade.
12.9 According to Chapter 2, section 24 of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act No. 108 of 1996), “everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations…” The National Development Plan (NDP) supports this notion as there is a need for the country to “protect the natural environment in all respects…” South Africa is also party to several international multilateral environmental agreements, among others the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and CITES, which oblige the country to conserve its natural heritage and ensure that international trade in listed wildlife species does not threaten their survival in the wild. South Africa, therefore, not only has a national obligation, but also an international obligation, to address wildlife trafficking that negatively impacts on its precious natural heritage.
12.10 The disruption of criminal networks has been acknowledged as being key to ending poaching and transnational wildlife crime. South Africa’s law enforcement have acknowledged that the issue of wildlife trafficking has evolved into a national security threat. However, as far as we are aware South Africa’s National Integrated Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking (NISCWT) has not yet been implemented. How can the Minister justify and allow this trade until critical law enforcement measures and strategies have been put in place that aim to deal with organised and globalised wildlife crime issues.
75 Born Free Foundation, “Cash Before Conservation: An Overview of the Breeding of Lions for Hunting and Bone Trade” (Horsham, 2018), 6, http://www.bornfree.org.uk/fileadmin/user_upload/files/reports/Born_Free_Lion_Breeding_Report.pdf76 EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, “The Extinction Business: South Africa’s Lion Bone Trade,” 40.77 EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, 45.
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13 Dangerous environment and risks to human health
13.1 Apart from the obvious welfare and ethical issues associated with slaughtering lions and other big cats for their bones, the risks to human health associated with the cruel and unregulated (and cannot be regulated) practices of the captive lion industry are well known – the transference of lion TB to humans, for instance, is a significant risk factor in the process of bone production.
13.2 In particular, we wish to point out that – with a deterioration in market conditions for captive hunting and a growing demand for derivative lion parts in Asia78 – slaughtering lions with teratogenic anaesthetic can be lethal if it enters the bloodstream of humans and similarly lethal to animals who feed on the carcasses of darted animals. Teratogenic agents can also cause abnormalities in physiological development during pregnancy.79
13.3 Lions are also not included (and should not be) in the Meat Safety Act, 40 of 2000, which again raises governance questions.
13.4 Given that it is well known that the meat of slaughtered lions is given to communities for consumption, it is difficult to see how killing captive-bred lions for the bone trade can be justified under community upliftment or even ‘sustainable use’. The only ‘scientific’ paper that argues that the industry is critical for rural development is one of the worst pieces of academic work that has ever been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Moreover, it completely fails to mention the potential costs and dangers to marginalised and exploited ‘game farm’ workers involved in the slaughter for meat or bones.80 As Brandt has pointed out, generally the wildlife industry violates the rights of black people and farm workers are disproportionally exposed to risks while living and working with dangerous animals like lions. In addition generally they do not receive employment benefits, such as medical insurance nor do they have the means to protect themselves from harm, disability or death.81
13.5 Beyond this, the consumption of the bones in Asian markets or for muti use in African markets may expose consumers to the same risks.
13.6 South Africa may be exporting poisonous products and it does not appear that the necessary health and safety governance measures are being deployed to prevent this. Again, the precautionary principle strongly suggests that trade in captive lion parts should be entirely rescinded given the overwhelming health and conservation risks that have been outlined throughout this submission.
78 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa.”
79 Carel Zietsman, “Letter to the Chairperson” (Zietsman – Horn Attorneys, n.d.).
80 Peet Van Der Merwe et al., “The Economic Significance of Lion Breeding Operations in the South African Wildlife Industry,” International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation 9, no. 11 (2017): 314–22, https://doi.org/10.5897/IJBC2017.1103.
81 Femke Brandt Trophy Hunting in South Africa: Risky Business for Whom? DAILY MAVERICK (17 Nov 2015)http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2015-11-17-trophy-hunting-in-south-africa-risky-business-for- whom/?utm_source=Daily+Maverick+Mailer#.VqCRDLZ97IV
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This submission has clearly shown that the grounds for establishing a quota in 2017 were not scientific. It further shows that the quota was established upon instruction from CITES, but likely violated Article IV (2) of CITES itself in the process. Beyond this, it has shown that the quota cannot reasonably be justified under the banner of Section 24 of the Constitution.
Extractive, exploitative and consumptive use of captive bred lions serves no conservation purpose and cannot meaningfully be said to contribute to ecologically sustainable development, especially given the likely opportunity costs currently associated with the practice. The DEFF appears committed to ignoring the parliamentary report that calls for an ultimate termination of the industry, renewing licences without substantiating reasons for those who had violated their terms.
It is difficult to understand how South Africa can continue operating a quota when the state of governance of the industry is so evidently sub-optimal. There appears to also be a gratuitous overlooking of the facts, considering that a parallel illegal market already exists and a legal trade through a quota is not likely to prevent this illegal market from proliferating, and may even exacerbate it. The links between South African lion bone traders and international criminal syndicates that destroy our wildlife are well established. Establishing and maintaining a quota, given this evidence, appears to be wilfully naïve at best.
It is unlikely that the industry provides a buffer against wild lion exploitation – that it may do so is mere speculation. What is less speculative and far more grounded in evidence is that a parallel illegal market already exists, and the presence of a legal trade is a convenient cover under which to launder illegally acquired lion bones that then masquerade as tiger bones in illicit Asian markets, placing further pressure on wild tigers (and likely wild lions in areas where they are already under threat).
For these reasons, we submit that the DEFF adhere to parliament’s instruction to review legislation with a view to shutting the industry down as soon as possible. Operating a lion export skeleton quota is incompatible with such an end. It is therefore our recommendation that the quota be rescinded to zero, and credible measures be taken to terminate the industry in its entirety, as per Motion 009 of the IUCN in 2016.
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Abbott, Brant, and G. Cornelis van Kooten. “Can Domestication of Wildlife Lead to Conservation? The Economics of Tiger Farming in China.” Ecological Economics 70, no. 4 (February 2011): 721–28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.11.006.
Bauer, Hans, Kristin Nowell, Claudio Sillero-Zubiri, and David W Macdonald. “Lions in the Modern Arena of CITES.” Edited by Daniel Miller. Conservation Letters, no. January (2018): 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12444.
Damania, Richard, and Erwin H. Bulte. “The Economics of Wildlife Farming and Endangered Species Conservation.” Ecological Economics 62, no. 3–4 (2007): 461–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2006.07.007.
EMS Foundation, and Ban Animal Trading. “The Extinction Business: South Africa’s Lion Bone Trade,” 2018. http://emsfoundation.org.za/wp-content/uploads/THE-EXTINCTION- BUSINESS-South-Africas-lion-bone-trade.pdf.
Environmental Investigation Agency. “The Lion’s Share: South Africa’s Trade Exacerbates Demand for Tiger Parts and Derivatives.” London, 2017. https://eia- international.org/wp-content/uploads/The-Lions-Share-FINAL.pdf.
Fischer, Carolyn. “The Complex Interactions of Markets for Endangered Species Products.”Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 48 (2004): 926–53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeem.2003.12.003.
Gratwicke, Brian, Elizabeth L Bennett, Steven Broad, Sarah Christie, Adam Dutton, Grace Gabriel, R Craig Kirkpatrick, and Kristin Nowell. “The World Can’t Have Wild Tigers and Eat Them, Too.” Conservation Biology 22, no. 1 (2008): 222–23. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2007.00802.x.
Harvey, Ross. “South Africa Kicks the Can down the Road on Captive Predator Breeding.” The Conversation, 2019. https://theconversation.com/south-africa-kicks-the-can- down-the-road-on-captive-predator-breeding-113853.
———. “The Economics of Captive Predator Breeding in South Africa.” Cape Town, 2018. https://saiia.org.za/wp- content/uploads/2018/08/Harvey_180818_WorkingPaper_PredatorBreedingSA.pdf.
Hauenstein, Severin, Mrigesh Kshatriya, Julian Blanc, Carsten F Dormann, and Colin M Beale. “African Elephant Poaching Rates Correlate with Local Poverty, National Corruption and Global Ivory Price.” Nature Communications 10, no. 1 (2019): 2242. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-09993-2.
Hodgetts, Timothy, Melissa Lewis, Hans Bauer, Dawn Burnham, Amy Dickman, Ewan Macdonald, David Macdonald, and Arie Trouwborst. “Improving the Role of Global Conservation Treaties in Addressing Contemporary Threats to Lions.” Biodiversity and Conservation 27, no. 10 (2018): 2747–65. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-018-1567-1.
Hsiang, Solomon, and Nitin Sekar. “Does Legalization Reduce Black Market Activity? Evidence from a Global Ivory Experiment and Elephant Poaching Data.” NBER Working Paper. Cambridge, MA, June 2, 2016. http://www.nber.org/papers/w22314.pdf.
International Union for the Conservation of Nature. “Motion 009: Terminating the Hunting of Captive-Bred Lions (Panthera Leo) and Other Predators and Captive Breeding for Commercial, Non-Conservation Purposes,” 2016. https://portals.iucn.org/congress/motion/009.
Kirkpatrick, R. Craig, and Lucy Emerton. “Killing Tigers to Save Them: Fallacies of the Farming Argument.” Conservation Biology 24, no. 3 (2010): 655–59.
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Merwe, Peet Van Der, Melville Saayman, Jauntelle Els, and Andrea Saayman. “The Economic
Significance of Lion Breeding Operations in the South African Wildlife Industry.”International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation 9, no. 11 (2017): 314–22. https://doi.org/10.5897/IJBC2017.1103.
Outhwaite, Willow. “The Legal and Illegal Trade in African Lions: A Study in Support of Decision 17.241 E).” Geneva, 2018. https://cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/com/ac/30/Inf/E-AC30-Inf-15x.pdf.
Pitman, Ross T., Julien Fattebert, Samual T. Williams, Kathryn S. Williams, Russell A. Hill, Luke T.B. Hunter, Rob Slotow, and Guy A. Balme. “The Conservation Costs of Game Ranching.” Conservation Letters 10, no. 4 (2017): 402–12. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12276.
Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs. “Report of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs on the Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa: Harming or Promoting the Conservation Image of the Country, Held on 21 and 22 August 2018, Dated 8 November 2018.” Cape Town: Parliamentary Monitoring Group, 2018. https://pmg.org.za/tabled-committee-report/3595/.
Republic of South Africa. National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act of 2004, Pub. L. No. 10, National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (2004). https://www.sanbi.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/biodiversityact2004pdf.pdf.
Schroeder, Richard A. “Moving Targets: The ‘Canned’ Hunting of Captive-Bred Lions in South Africa.” African Studies Review, 2018, 1–25. https://doi.org/10.1017/asr.2017.94.
Tensen, Laura. “Under What Circumstances Can Wildlife Farming Benefit Species Conservation?” Global Ecology and Conservation 6 (2016): 286–98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2016.03.007.
———. “Under What Circumstances Can Wildlife Farming Benefit Species Conservation?”Global Ecology and Conservation 6 (2016): 286–98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2016.03.007.
Vigne, Lucy, and Esmond Martin. “Consumer Demand for Ivory in Japan Declines.”Pachyderm 47, no. 1 (2010): 45–54. http://pachydermjournal.org/index.php/pachy/article/view/173.
Wiersema, Annecoos. “Incomplete Bans and Uncertain Markets in Wildlife Trade.”University of Pennsylvania Asian Law Review 12, no. 1 (2016): 65–87. https://doi.org/10.1525/sp.2007.54.1.23.
———. “Uncertainty, Precaution, and Adaptive Management in Wildlife Trade.” Michigan Journal of International Law 36, no. 3 (2015): 375–425. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1726782679?accountid=12763.
Williams, Vivienne L., and Michael J. ‘t Sas-Rolfes. “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa.” PLOS ONE 14, no. 5 (2019): e0217409. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217409.
Williams, Vivienne L, David Newton, Andrew J Loveridge, and David W Macdonald. “Bones of Contention: An Assessment of the South African Trade in African Lion Panthera Leo Bones and Other Body Parts,” 2015. https://www.wildcru.org/wp- content/uploads/2015/07/Bones_of_contention.pdf.
Zhou, Xuehong, Qiang Wang, Wei Zhang, Yu Jin, Zhen Wang, Zheng Chai, Zhiqiang Zhou, Xiaofeng Cui, and Douglas C. MacMillan. “Elephant Poaching and the Ivory Trade: The Impact of Demand Reduction and Enforcement Efforts by China from 2005 – 2017.”
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Global Ecology and Conservation 16 (2018): e00486.
Zietsman, Carel. “Letter to the Chairperson.” Zietsman – Horn Attorneys, n.d.
EXPERT OPINION ON THE 2019 LION SKELETON EXPORT QUOTA
Ross Harvey, Independent Economist June 2019
This opinion contributes to the evidence base to be considered in establishing a lion export skeleton quota for South Africa in 2019. It is structured as follows. First, I evaluate the economic arguments in favour of a controlled legal trade in big cat parts and find them to be inadequate conservation management solutions. Second, I evaluate the latest paper which the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) has cited as part of its scientific contribution to informing the quota determination. I also evaluate the expert opinion offered by one of the authors of that paper. I conclude that a non-zero quota cannot reasonably be defended on the grounds of ‘sustainable use’ or ‘adaptive management’ and should therefore be reconsidered. In my opinion as a natural resource economist, the annual quota should be permanently set to zero.
It is well known that bones from captive-bred lions in South Africa are sold as tiger bones in Asian markets.1 As noted in a recent paper, produced as part of the Scientific Authority’s research into the lion bone trade, past research has ‘questioned whether measures implemented between 1993 and 2007 to curb the Asia-driven tiger parts trade provoked the start of South Africa’s lion bone trade in 2008’.2 The fact that lion bones substitute as tiger bones creates three difficulties as far as international regulation is concerned.
First, it is a look-alike product – tiger bones are indistinguishable from lion bones, and tigers are at serious risk of extinction in the wild. CITES Appendix II allows the listing of lookalike species
1 Vivienne L. Williams and Michael J. ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa,” PLOS ONE 14, no. 5 (2019): e0217409, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217409; Vivienne L Williams et al., “Bones of Contention: An Assessment of the South African Trade in African Lion Panthera Leo Bones and Other Body Parts,” 2015, https://www.wildcru.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Bones_of_contention.pdf; EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, “The Extinction Business: South Africa’s Lion Bone Trade,” 2018, http://emsfoundation.org.za/wp-content/uploads/THE-EXTINCTION-BUSINESS-South-Africas-lion-bone-trade.pdf; Environmental Investigation Agency, “The Lion’s Share: South Africa’s Trade Exacerbates Demand for Tiger Parts and Derivatives” (London, 2017), https://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/The-Lions-Share-FINAL.pdf.
2 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa,” 2.
provided that trade does not undermine efforts to protect species that do require protection, such as wild tigers.
Second, the legally allowable trade in lion bones effectively creates an incomplete ban on tiger products. Incomplete bans are defined as those that apply to species threatened by international trade while simultaneously allowing exceptions to that ban. In other words, a ban is rendered incomplete through exceptions to its application.
Third, the annotation at CITES CoP17 that allowed South Africa to establish an annual quota for captive-bred lion parts has effectively created a split-listing problem, which is tantamount to an incomplete ban on lion products – captive lion parts can be traded but not Appendix-I-listed lion parts. Split-listing is normally based on geographical boundaries and not on the particular part or specimen of the species in demand. In other words, the bones from captive-bred lions and the bones or parts from wild lions are not distinguished in consumer markets. Moreover, ‘distinguishing between farmed and wild tiger parts is impossible’,3 despite efforts at certification. Therefore, the risk of laundering illegal parts (wild-poached tiger and lion parts) to feed into the legal lion bone export market (and then sold as illegal tiger parts) is high4 and creates considerable governance complexity for managing the captive-bred lion industry in South Africa. As Wiersema notes: ‘To address the possibility of laundering, a strong enforcement infrastructure is required.’5 Given the lack of capacity among South Africa’s law enforcement fraternity to check consignments at border posts, ports and airports, there is sufficient reason to expect that laundering will become a problem. This view is further supported by clear evidence of the criminality that is already prevalent in the captive lion industry, especially among traders.6
Exceptions to bans through split-listing or captive-breeding are confusing because species are listed on Appendix I precisely because trade has been determined as a significant threat to their survival due to excessive demand. Yet, the argument is that having a market will help these species at the same time.7 As Wiersema notes, the arguments in favour of trade from supply-side economics can appear logically compelling – increased supply reduces prices and therefore
3 Brian Gratwicke et al., “The World Can’t Have Wild Tigers and Eat Them, Too,” Conservation Biology 22, no. 1 (2008): 222, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2007.00802.x.
4 Gratwicke et al., “The World Can’t Have Wild Tigers and Eat Them, Too.”
5 Annecoos Wiersema, “Incomplete Bans and Uncertain Markets in Wildlife Trade,” University of Pennsylvania Asian Law Review 12, no. 1 (2016): 82, https://doi.org/10.1525/sp.2007.54.1.23.
6 EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, “The Extinction Business: South Africa’s Lion Bone Trade.”7 Wiersema, “Incomplete Bans and Uncertain Markets in Wildlife Trade,” 74.
poaching incentives. However, they tend to be based on a number of assumptions that are unlikely to hold in reality. This is especially the case for species subject to incomplete bans where the market structure is oligopolistic. Legal supply (of lion bones) may not always crowd out illegal traders (of tiger and lion bones).8 Tiger farming itself may also create serious risks for wild tiger survival.9 When an oligopolistic market structure dominates the trade, there is also a risk of ‘banking on extinction’ – syndicates are likely to stockpile bones or ivory or horn in the expectation of being able to earn monopoly rents in the future, which would increase the marginal rates of extraction from wild stock at present. In other words, poaching can increase in the presence of an incomplete ban or an expectation that a ban will be rescinded in the future. Thus, I concur with Wiersema’s point that it is inaccurate to argue that current bans have not worked – the argument is ‘undermined by the fact that we do not have complete bans.’10Complete bans – without exceptions on the supply side – have not been tried. It is therefore disingenuous to argue that bans fail. Bans could be highly effective if the loopholes that create laundering opportunities were closed and the possibility of a ban becoming incomplete or being rescinded in the future did not lead to stockpiling – ‘banking on extinction’ – in the present.11
It is further critical to note that supply-side arguments often assume substitutability, that – for instance – wild products can be substituted by captive-bred products. If the demand for wild- sourced bones is price-inelastic at the higher end of the demand curve (those consumers willing and able to pay higher prices), then supply-side interventions may have little positive impact on reducing poaching. ‘Conversely, legalizing trade may fuel illegal poaching if the wild-caught specimens will be cheaper to obtain and therefore can be sold at a reduced price’,12 undercutting the legal market. On the specific relationship between captive-bred lions and the impact on wild lion survival, South Africa’s 2018 non-detriment finding speculates that captive-bred stock may serve as a buffer against threats to wild lion poaching13, as the reduction of legal supply could
8 Richard Damania and Erwin H. Bulte, “The Economics of Wildlife Farming and Endangered Species Conservation,”Ecological Economics 62, no. 3–4 (2007): 461–72, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2006.07.007.
9 R. Craig Kirkpatrick and Lucy Emerton, “Killing Tigers to Save Them: Fallacies of the Farming Argument,” Conservation Biology 24, no. 3 (2010): 655–59, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01468.x.
10 Wiersema, “Incomplete Bans and Uncertain Markets in Wildlife Trade,” 80.
11 Ross Harvey, Chris Alden, and Yu Shan Wu, “Speculating a Fire Sale: Options for Chinese Authorities in Implementing a Domestic Ivory Trade Ban,” Ecological Economics 141 (2017): 22–31, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.05.017.
12 Wiersema, “Incomplete Bans and Uncertain Markets in Wildlife Trade,” 81.
13 Scientific Authority of South Africa, “Non-Detriment Finding Assessment for Panthera Leo (African Lion),” Pub. L. No. 1682–5843, 631 Government Gazette 1 (2018), https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/gazetted_notices/nemba10of2004_nondetrimentfindingsGN41393.p df.
increase the demand for wild products. But this ignores the warning in the same paper14 from which it is drawn: ‘From a conservation perspective, trade in lion bones from captive institutions in South Africa to Asia would be cause for concern if it were to stimulate harvest of wild lions or other felids to supply the bone trade.’15 It is highly unscientific to cherry-pick the speculation that adheres to the predisposition of ‘sustainable use’. For ecological sustainability and survival of the species, management authorities need to have a more robust idea of how the demand curve is likely to respond to supply-side signals. That demand might increase in response to the suppression of legal supply is an untested hypothesis, not borne out by any robust econometric evidence. Simply asserting it because it was a point raised in a scientific journal is confirmation bias, not science.
The point is that significant uncertainty16 abounds pertaining to demand-side effects of supply- side interventions in this space17, and it is highly plausible that legal supply channels that effectively create incomplete bans further complicate matters. Perhaps most concerning in the short run is the potential negative impact on wild tiger survival, and wild lion survival in the longer run, especially if the demand curve shifts out (instead of in) in response to continuing legal supply. We cannot trade our way out of a trade-induced problem. Incomplete bans implicitly acknowledge demand for the product in question (lion bones) and feed that demand of necessity – there would be no rationale for continuing a breeding industry if there was no demand and if that demand was not growing. It therefore seems that South Africa wants to have its cake and eat it too. We appear to want “just enough” demand and to supply a “just right” quantity while at the same time talking about complex social ecological systems (SES). It is precisely because we operate in a complex social ecological system that this type of wishful ‘adaptive management’ is not going to cut it. Illegal traders, unable to enter the legal market – have every incentive to continue to provide an illegal supply. Given that it is difficult for law enforcement officials to distinguish between legal and illegal supply, laundering is easy. Therefore, allowing legal trade on the premise that it will prevent the proliferation of a parallel illegal market is naïve at best.
14 Paul Lindsey et al., “Possible Relationships between the South African Captive-Bred Lion Hunting Industry and the Hunting and Conservation of Lions Elsewhere in Africa,” South African Journal of Wildlife Research 42, no. 1 (2012): 11–22, https://doi.org/10.3957/056.042.0103.
15 Ibid., 20.
16 Brant Abbott and G. Cornelis van Kooten, “Can Domestication of Wildlife Lead to Conservation? The Economics of Tiger Farming in China,” Ecological Economics 70, no. 4 (February 2011): 721–28, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.11.006.
17 Douglas J Crookes and James N Blignaut, “Debunking the Myth That a Legal Trade Will Solve the Rhino Horn Crisis: A System Dynamics Model for Market Demand,” Journal for Nature Conservation 28 (November 2015): 11–18, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2015.08.001.
Finally, the rationale for supply-side interventions such as quotas fundamentally misunderstand demand dynamics. The argument is normally that demand for products such as tiger bones and ivory is culturally rooted and historically significant, and that it is therefore naïve to expect that it will change18 in response to stigmatisation effects created through demand reduction efforts. But this ignores both the differential responses to norms in different countries and the fact that cultural preferences are dynamic rather than static. In other words, consumers are responsive to changes in legal prescripts though it can differ from country to country. Consider, for instance, that strong demand for rhino horn is a relatively recent occurrence in Vietnam and that it can decline in response to bans (for instance, in Yemen, where demand halved between 2008 and 2013).19 The fact that demand is pre-existent is not sufficient reason to feed it (which is what breeding clearly does). We cannot reduce demand unless we send credible supply-side signals that trade is illegitimate and will no longer occur. Legal markets limit the effectiveness of efforts to reduce demand because they send confusing signals.20 The availability of legal products can destigmatize consumption. Consequently, demand can increase.21 The idea that bans create increased demand is unsupported in the academic literature. Incomplete bans are the real problem because the effectiveness of the ban (say, against Appendix-I listed species) is undermined by continued or increased demand. This is especially the case when legal lion bone supply is being sold into the illegal tiger bone trade.
An evaluation of the paper cited in support of setting an annual quota that reflects current supply availability from captive stock
The paper by Vivienne Williams and Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes, recently published in PLOS|ONE22was cited as the outcome of a collaborative research effort between Wits and Oxford Universities and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). The abstract of the paper opens with a disingenuous claim. ‘Following a 2016 decision by Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, South Africa must establish an annual export quota for lion skeletons from captive sources, such that threats to wild
18 Kirsten Conrad, “Trade Bans: A Perfect Storm for Poaching?,” Tropical Conservation Science 5, no. 3 (2012): 245–54.19 Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin, “Demand for Rhino Horn Declines in Yemen,” Oryx 47, no. 3 (2013): 323–323, https://doi.org/10.1017/s0030605313000768.
20 Wiersema, “Incomplete Bans and Uncertain Markets in Wildlife Trade,” 83.
21 Carolyn Fischer, “The Complex Interactions of Markets for Endangered Species Products,” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 48 (2004): 926–53, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeem.2003.12.003.
22 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa.”
lions are mitigated’ (emphasis mine). There is nothing in the CITES annotation to Appendix II that suggests that the quota will serve to mitigate threats to wild lions per se. That is reading into the text a positive conservation benefit that simply does not exist in the CITES document. The actual text reads as follows: ‘Annual export quotas for trade in bones, bone pieces, bone products, claws, skeletons, skulls and teeth for commercial purposes, derived from captive breeding operations in South Africa will be established and communicated annually to the CITES Secretariat.’23 It does not specify, firstly, that it must of necessity be a non-zero quota. Certainly, a non-detriment finding (NDF) (that captive lions have no negative effect on wild lion survival) would have been a minimal conservation requirement. But an NDF of that nature24 was not gazetted until at least 7 months after the Minister of Environmental Affairs had communicated25 the 2017 quota of 800 skeletons to the CITES secretariat. Even so, that NDF could only conclude that there would be no likely negative impact on South Africa’s wild lions. But that does not go far enough, given that lions are a migratory species26, and captive breeding in South Africa may well have a negative effect on Appendix-I listed lions in other range states.27
The second concerning feature of the abstract of the paper alone is that it recognises ‘rising consumer demand for lion body parts, notably skulls.’ Growing demand is a commercial benefit for the South African captive breeding industry, but a conservation drawback for all the reasons explained in the first part of this opinion. Then, 52% of respondents indicated that they would adapt to the USA suspension of trophy imports from South Africa by seeking ‘alternative markets’ for lion bones if the export quota allocation restricted their business. But this only shows the commercial nature of the industry, with no concern for either welfare or conservation. When this is challenged in court, the Constitutional Court ruling of 2017 that links welfare to conservation will no doubt be among the first judgments to be considered. It also tells us something significant about respondents’ willingness to break the law, presuming that ‘alternative markets’ implies illegal export. Michele Pfab, the SANBI coordinator for this project, stated – at
23 Committee 1, “Conservation of and Trade in the African Lion,” Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Johannesburg, 2016), https://cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/cop/17/Com_I/E-CoP17-Com-I- 29.pdf.
24 Scientific Authority of South Africa, Non-detriment finding assessment for Panthera leo (African lion).
25 Department of Environmental Affairs, “Lion Export Quota for 2017 Communicated to the CITES Secretariat in Line with CITES Requirements,” Government Press Release, June 28, 2017, https://www.environment.gov.za/mediarelease/lionexportquota_communicatedtocitessecretariat.
26 Timothy Hodgetts et al., “Improving the Role of Global Conservation Treaties in Addressing Contemporary Threats to Lions,” Biodiversity and Conservation 27, no. 10 (2018): 2747–65, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-018-1567-1.
27 Lion Conservationists, “The African Lion Conservation Community’s Response to the South African Predator Association’s Letter,” 2017, https://conservationaction.co.za/wp- content/uploads/2017/11/LionConservationResponseToSAPALetterZinkeNov2017-2.pdf; Panthera, “Panthera Statement on South Africa’s Proposed Quota for Lion Skeleton Exports And Its Impact on Wild Lion Populations” (New York: Panthera, 2017), https://www.panthera.org/cms/sites/default/files/Panthera_PressRelease_LionBones.pdf.
a public consultation on the matter – that this was a ‘fair response’, but it remains difficult to see how it is ever ‘fair’ to break the law. Moreover, policy-setting should not be held ransom to veiled threats from those who have a vested commercial interest in an unrestrictive quota being established. Threats cannot masquerade as science when considering a policy. This raises a question over why respondents’ views are being given pre-eminence in the process of determining a quota rather than the conservation of wild species, which is ultimately CITES’ mandate, and one which DEFF is responsible for executing.
It is disconcerting to see the language of the 2018 NDF repeated in the introduction of the paper: ‘it is also plausible that the former may provide a buffer effect against over-exploitation of the latter’28, which is not exactly what the Lindsey et al paper (cited in support of the assertion) stated, as detailed earlier.29 This phrase is repeated in one form or another four times throughout the paper. Furthermore, the paper states that in 2017, the SA ‘initiated a programme of interdisciplinary, collaborative, scientific research with university institution affiliates (including ourselves) to obtain further information on lions bred and maintained in captivity, legal and illegal trade, and consequences of trade for wild lions.’30 But the ‘National Captive Lion Survey’ was only one dimension of this, and does not address the latter two themes, namely the interaction between legal and illegal trade (simply assumed away despite extensive evidence of criminality among South African lion bone trades), nor the consequences of trade for wild lions. CITES has already determined that trade is detrimental to the probability of wild lion survival, which is why the majority of African lions are Appendix-I listed. It is difficult to understand why this study did not rather address the question of what impact the captive lion industry is having on wild lion populations beyond South Africa’s borders. What we have now is a thriving legal trade that creates – on the demand side – an incomplete ban on lion products, especially given that most lion products are sold as tiger products in those consumer markets. This legal trade is being regulated through a quota, despite no one knowing exactly how many facilities or captive lions actually exist in South Africa. It is hard to understand how a quota can be managed when the industry numbers themselves are unknown.
28 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa,” 2.
29 Lindsey et al., “Possible Relationships between the South African Captive-Bred Lion Hunting Industry and the Hunting and Conservation of Lions Elsewhere in Africa.”
30 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa,” 2.
This in turn raises questions of methodology. The authors of the paper received 117 usable responses to the lengthy questionnaire from industry respondents. The fact that only industry respondents were consulted seems to build in a bias from the beginning. Asking for responses only from industry members and not also interviewing conservationists appears likely to skew the policy decision in favour of commercial interests rather than attending to the significant public concern on this matter (which the authors duly recognise). It is also not clear how or whether the authors checked that responses were from industry members and that the information supplied was accurate. The problems with this kind of survey methodology are well known. First is the issue of accuracy. Second is the problem of attaining a sufficiently large sample size. If the size of the industry is unknown, it is not clear that the authors can establish a reliable saturation point at which they have enough data from which to draw reasonable inferences. The authors write that increasing the sample size until more than 25% of the ToPS- registered lion breeding/hunting facilities per province had been sampled was considered large enough for ‘robust scientific scrutiny.’ ‘For the purpose of the intended analysis, achieving this level of detail was considered realistic and sufficient.’ But it is not clear what the term ‘realistic’ refers to here, nor the term ‘sufficient’ – a realistic reflection of what and sufficient for what? Third is the problem of self-reporting and answering the questions in a way that produces desired results for the vested interests of the respondent. Asking questions about what strategies respondents would employ in response to the USA trophy import ban creates an incentive for respondents to answer in a way that simply uses the survey as a mouthpiece to voice threats that unduly influence policy management. These factors appear not to have been controlled for.
As one reads the paper, one gets a distinct sense that the narrative is crafted, from start to finish, to justify a large quota. For instance, it references earlier papers by Williams that ‘questioned whether measures implemented between 1993 and 2007 to curb the Asia-driven tiger parts trade provoked the start of South Africa’s lion bone trade in 2008 (Fig 1), and hence whether well- meaning policy interventions intended to protect species can create economic incentives that perversely influence trade dynamics and lead to unintended consequences elsewhere.’ This is a hinge in the narrative that tries to convince the reader that the trade ban on tigers is the problem and provoked South Africa’s lion bone trade. That is a strong causal claim couched in ‘question’ language. But the graph (figure 1) does not answer the question of why – if it is indeed the case, as claimed, that the 1993 tiger parts ban provoked lion breeding in South Africa – there is such a long delay between 1993 and 2007. For action x to have a causal effect y, x must precede y, but to have such a lag effect appears to make the connection dubitable at best. Certainly, it is not
scientific, but merely speculative. It surely does not take 14 years to respond to a policy measure. It is also not clear exactly what these ‘unintended consequences’ are that ‘perversely influence’ trade dynamics. What is perverse is not responding in 2008 with a complete ban on the export of all derivative lion parts, as soon as it was known that lion parts substitute for tiger parts. The proliferation of the industry to the point where no one knows how many lions are even in captivity is truly perverse.
In the section on page 15 of the paper that addresses the impacts and adaptations of the lion bone quota, Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes say that they asked ‘respondents whether the quota would restrict their businesses in any way – and if so, how would their business be adapted’. But it remains unclear as to why the quota would restrict business if the quota determination was predicated on reflecting existing available supply.31 It turns out the 800 for 2017 had been set using data of exports from the previous year. The department then admitted that in fact the number had been closer to 1800. It is not that the quota was designed to be restrictive, it was inadvertently restrictive, which skews the nature of the question and simultaneously reflects the lack of governance over the industry. You cannot govern what you cannot quantify. With a skewed question – respondents believing that the government made the quota restrictive on purpose – it was likely that they were going to respond by threatening to find ‘alternative markets for the bones’, but this doesn’t tell us anything useful; it simply tells us how breeders feel about a restrictive quota (which wasn’t meant to be restrictive) and that they intend to break the law should the law not suit their commercial interests. Further entrenching this point is that ‘some frustrated aspiring sellers might resort to other (potentially illegal) trade channels. All these factors point to a distinct threat of the development of a parallel illegal market’.32 But again this appears to ignore the strong connection between the small number of South African lion bone traders and criminal syndicates33, which preceded the quota. Therefore, it appears more likely that a quota is providing a laundering channel for illicit supply rather than a means of preventing it.
31 Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs, “Report of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs on the Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa: Harming or Promoting the Conservation Image of the Country, Held on 21 and 22 August 2018, Dated 8 November 2018” (Cape Town: Parliamentary Monitoring Group, 2018), https://pmg.org.za/tabled-committee-report/3595/.
32 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa,” 16.
33 EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, “The Extinction Business: South Africa’s Lion Bone Trade.”
One of the primary concluding arguments of the paper is as follows: ‘The fact that a large proportion of respondents have stated that they will seek ‘other markets’ for lion bones and other body parts signals the potential for a parallel illegal market to develop if quotas are viewed by industry participants as excessively restrictive. South Africa experienced a similar situation with rhino horn trade, whereby increased restrictions were contested by market participants, sparking a significant wave of illegal activity. Should any South African captive lion industry participants develop closer links with organized criminal enterprises, the effects could be irreversible and result in greater and more widespread threats of focused commercial-scale poaching of wild felids.’34
The direct reference to the rhino horn debate here brings the reasoning of the entire paper into disrepute. The authors are making a causal claim on the following premises:
P1: Increased rhino horn trade restrictions were contested by market participants P2: Rhino horn traders sought alternative markets as a result of P1
C: These caused a significant wave of illegal activity
The first premise is correct in that the department’s moratorium, imposed in 2009, was eventually overturned by the Constitutional Court. The second premise is dubious, which is why it was conveniently overlooked in the claim that restrictive measures sparked a significant wave of illegal activity. There has never been a large domestic market for rhino horn, and the international ban has been in place since 1977. If it is indeed the case that traders sought alternative illegal markets after South Africa imposed a moratorium on the domestic trade, it only shows us that South Africa’s legal trade, until that point, had been used as a means of getting rhino horn out of the country to sell on the black market (given that that there was no legal global market). But, either way, the moratorium of 2009 did not cause a wave of illegal activity. The more likely story is that demand (mostly in Vietnam) started to escalate (around 2006), possibly because of excellent marketing from South African breeders who boasted about having extensive stockpiles. South Africa imposed a moratorium on domestic trade in response to increased illegal activity in 2009. Poaching escalated at least 18 months before the moratorium was imposed. The department’s own rationale for imposing the moratorium was that it was a responsemechanism to increased poaching. It could therefore not plausibly have caused the upsurge in
34 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa,” 27.
poaching. Here the authors betray themselves as being pre-committed to trade as a means of preventing an upsurge in illegal activity, conveniently ignoring factual historical sequence in the process. Moreover, excellent work in economics has shown that trade is not the solution to the rhino poaching problem.35
The authors also seem willing to ignore the fact that there already are close ‘links with organised criminal enterprises’ and industry participants. This is extensively documented in a lengthy report produced by the EMS Foundation with hard evidence36, and the authors claim to have read the report but chose nonetheless to ignore it. It strikes me as a dishonest endeavour to be pre- committed to a view and ignore evidence that stands in the way of that pre-commitment. It is also critical to note that building policy on the grounds of ‘adaptive management’ – a response to threats of illegality from the industry – is not scientific.
Adaptive Management and the Precautionary Principle
The Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes paper is grounded in a proposition that ‘the most appropriate way for the Scientific Authority to address such uncertainty is by employing principles of adaptive management’.37 They conclude that it is important to know the total number of captive lions, trends in market prices for live felids and/or their parts, the prevalence of poaching on private property, how facilities respond to restrictions on trade and the changes in earnings across all sectors of the industry.38 With this I fully concur but would add that it is critical to know how wild tigers and wild lions are likely to fair as a result of trade decisions. Either way, the authors state that this information should guide an ‘adaptive management’ approach ‘aimed at minimising the risk of adversely affecting wild lion populations.’ In this respect, policymakers ‘should take care to avoid price shocks – i.e. sudden upward spikes in market prices that would boost incentives for poaching illegal trading activity, with potential adverse consequences for wild lions.’39
35 Douglas J Crookes and JN Blignaut, “A Categorisation and Evaluation of Rhino Management Policies,” Development Southern Africa 33, no. 4 (2016): 459–69, https://doi.org/10.1080/0376835X.2016.1179100; Douglas J Crookes, “Does a Reduction in the Price of Rhino Horn Prevent Poaching?,” Journal for Nature Conservation 39 (2017): 73–82, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2017.07.008; Crookes and Blignaut, “Debunking the Myth That a Legal Trade Will Solve the Rhino Horn Crisis: A System Dynamics Model for Market Demand.”
36 EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, “The Extinction Business: South Africa’s Lion Bone Trade.”
37 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa,” 2.
38 Williams and ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Born Captive: A Survey of the Lion Breeding, Keeping and Hunting Industries in South Africa.”39 Ibid., 28.
The first obvious point to note is that sudden upward spikes in market prices would result in a decrease in quantity demanded, as explained in the first part of this opinion. What matters are the second-round effects on the movements of the demand curve. That is what is missing from current considerations. If the demand curve (for lion and tiger products) moves down through a stigma effect (mediated through changing norms as a result of a trade ban), the initial upward price shock will ultimately be a cost worth incurring for the associated conservation benefits. Of course, the size of the price-inelastic segment of the demand curve needs to be better understood, especially if the price-inelasticity is rooted in a preference for evidently wild-sourced product (which is usually the case). But in that case, supply from captive-breeding is not going to help in any event. And law enforcement faces much lower transaction costs if they are not required to try and distinguish illegal from legal product. This in turn makes it easier to stop illegally-acquired supply from accessing global markets.
The second thing to note is that ‘adaptive management’ does not justify maintaining the status quo so as not to upset the apple cart (breeders and traders) or risk a short-term increase in poaching. If an outright ban is the way to move out of the ‘incomplete ban’ problem raised earlier, then that may well be the optimal approach to conserve wild lions and tigers. Uncertainty may be permanent as it might result from complexity and indeterminacy ‘and cannot always be resolved by more data’. It is also critical to be aware of the limitations of science and to note that ‘incorporating precaution within adaptive management is therefore necessary for decision- making on wildlife trade, but it is not sufficient.’40 Part of the challenge facing the conservation community is that precaution tends to be limited to a role of monitoring and information gathering rather than something that leans towards complete bans41 (which would clearly be more effective than partial bans). According to Wiersema’s analysis, parties to CITES have tended to shy ‘away from expressly relying on precaution as a tool to manage uncertainty and have not, therefore, fully engaged with deeper layers of uncertainty.’42 This seems to me to be the problem with South Africa’s policy approach to the captive lion breeding industry – it is unwilling to exercise precaution by restricting trade and instead allows a continuation of the status quo under the banner of ‘adaptive management’. Precaution cannot be limited to a merely procedural role; it has to play a more substantive role in listing species, ‘even if that species is
40 Annecoos Wiersema, “Uncertainty, Precaution, and Adaptive Management in Wildlife Trade,” Michigan Journal of International Law 36, no. 3 (2015): 377, http://search.proquest.com/docview/1726782679?accountid=12763.
42 Ibid., 423.
threatened by many factors in addition to trade’.43 Precaution should also generate greater consistency to avoid the problem of incomplete bans. It is, for example, gratuitously confusing to have some lions listed on Appendix I and others exempt from that ban at the very same time. The trade that caused Appendix I listing is still the same trade that is being fuelled through captive stock. CITES itself has recognised the problem of split-listing. South Africa’s lion breeding industry is further exacerbating that problem, in addition to possibly escalating the demand for tiger products in Asia, which may further decimate that highly endangered species.
Finally, I would urge South African policymakers to consider the strong evidence44 that farming tigers will not save the species, and why that logic applies similarly to lions, especially given that lion bones substitute for tiger bones in Asian markets.
44 Abbott and van Kooten, “Can Domestication of Wildlife Lead to Conservation? The Economics of Tiger Farming in China”; Laura Tensen, “Under What Circumstances Can Wildlife Farming Benefit Species Conservation?,” Global Ecology and Conservation 6 (2016): 286–98, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2016.03.007; Kirkpatrick and Emerton, “Killing Tigers to Save Them: Fallacies of the Farming Argument”; Gratwicke et al., “The World Can’t Have Wild Tigers and Eat Them, Too”; Terrence McCoy, “Tiger Farms in Laos Fuel Demand for Tiger Parts on Black Market,” Washington Post, May 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/tiger-farms-poaching- laos/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.243cbb253f21; Environmental Investigation Agency, “The Lion’s Share: South Africa’s Trade Exacerbates Demand for Tiger Parts and Derivatives.”
RossHarvey,PhD Candidate WILDLIFE ECONOMICS & POLICY ANALYST
Claremont, Cape Town, WC 7708 +27717712814 email@example.comError! Bookmark not defined.
POLICY INFLUENCE—Joined the global policy conversation that informed the Chinese government’s decision to close its domestic ivory market by the end of 2017 by authoring an occasional paper (2015) highlighting global and local challenges to elephant conservation. The article formed the basis of a £90,000, four-part research project funded by Stop Ivory that culminated at CITES CoP17 in Johannesburg, 2016. One of those outputs was ajournal article published in Ecological Economics recommending that the Chinese domestic ban should be immediate and permanent to disincentivise speculators from stockpiling ivory.
Contributed to the South African government’s decision to move away from the legalisation of the Rhino horntrade by highlighting flaws in pro-trade policy in a presentation to an independent panel of cross-sector experts. These views were later cemented in articles published in The Daily Maverick, The Conversation and Project Syndicate.
Quantified a potential R54 billion risk to the reputation and brand value of South African tourism that could result from the unregulated proliferation of captive predator breeding in the country using careful analysis of data gathered, related indicators and statistical strategies. Analysis emanated from a project commissioned by the Humane Society International (HSI) to the value of $26,000, personally procured.
Motivated the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs to condemn the captive predator breeding industry. The significant findings from my report were quoted in the final report submitted by the committee to the National Assembly that called for – among other things – a ‘policy and legislative review of captive breeding of lions for hunting and lion bone trade to putting an end to this practice…’ That report has led the Minister of Environmental Affairs to appoint a high-level panel to carry out the resolutions of the Portfolio Committee.
PROTOCOL DEVELOPMENT—Laid the foundation for how data might be gathered more reliably than through survey questionnaires for wildlife conservation and the illegal wildlife trade by modelling the captive predator breeding industry’s value and operations by building a database of verifiable industry information and interrogating it for reliability, replicability and accuracy.
LICIT AND ILLICIT WILDLIFE ECONOMIC ANALYSIS— Research on the ivory, rhino horn and lion bone trade demonstrated that the existence of legal domestic trades provides cover for illicit product trafficking,imperilling the survival probability of wild species. My analyses have also shown the need for holistic and well- coordinated policy responses across range states and in consumer markets to reduce demand simultaneously with banning the trade.
ROBUST QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS—Despite the absence of publicly available high-quality data, produced robust quantitative and qualitative analysis of the captive predator breeding industry and efficacy of existing policy in addition to using game-theoretic models to understand how speculators and consumers might behave in ivory markets, and how range states should better align their elephant conservation and anti-trafficking policies.
IDENTIFIED ECONOMIC INCENTIVES TO CONSERVATION—Demonstrated the importance of symmetrical incentives between local communities and wildlife tourism operators in Botswana through on- the-ground field research in Chobe and the Okavango Delta if wildlife-based tourism is to be sustainable. Shown the importance of considering negative externalities and opportunity costs associated with policy decisionssuch as the Tanzanian government’s commitment to the Stiegler’s Gorge hydro power project in the Selous game reserve, which will negatively impact the ecological foundation of wildlife tourism and undermine food security downstream on the Rufiji River floodplains.
PUBLIC INSPIRATION—Provided direct and public-orientated policy influence through media, governmental presentations and publication development as the author/co-author of 25+ papers and articles. Commissioned and oversaw external authors on the development of two occasional papers for the Stop Ivory project and presented to the committee of inquiry regarding legalising the rhino horn trade. Presented research findings at a major TUSK event at CITES CoP17 in 2016 to audience that included members of DIRCO and the DEA.
Overview of 10+ years’ Natural Resource Economics & Policy Analysis
LEAD/SENIOR RESEARCHER | South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) Jun 2013—present
An independent, non-government think-tank on regional and international issues which encourages broader and more informed awareness of a variety of environmental and other globally impacting issues. Reported To: Programme Head; Managed Budgets for wildlife work: R1.58m (ivory) and R355,000 (lion bone); Team Size: ~4 (variable – but roughly 2 internal, 2 contracted)
Key Performance Indicators:
★Exceeded SAIIA’s position expectations for Key Deliverables with average performance review ratings of 4.3/5 on Wildlife and Extractive Industries Governance for the Governance of Africa’s Resources Programme from 2015 to
RESEARCH OUTPUT & EVENTS COORDINATION (~50%)— Contributed to SAIIA’s specialisation brand awareness and reached target audiences with Policy Insights and Briefings; Occasional Papers; Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles; Working Papers; Submissions to parliament and government departments; and Events (conferences, roundtables and media briefings).
STRATEGIC DISSEMINATION & INPUT, MEDIA ENGAGEMENT AND STAKEHOLDER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (~30%)
★ Achieved notable quotes in leading international publications—The Economist and The Globe & Mail – by developing and executing strategic
media plans with each project.
Delivered opinion & analysis pieces that have appeared in Project Syndicate,
Business Day, The Daily Maverick and The Conversation. Co-authored pieces in
external publications such as The Council of Councils (a memo on CITES) and The Ecologist (on the importance of community members as drivers of conservation); TV appearances; Web Features; Notes from the field (Botswana and Tanzania), as well as numerous radio interviews on subjects from illegal mining to elephant conversation.
MONITORING & EVALUATION AND REPORTING (~10%)—Delivered stakeholder analysis on the illicit ivory, rhino horn and lion bone trades, identified the appropriate target audiences and secured invitations to present work to parliament and relevant government departments.
FINANCIAL TARGETING (~10%)—Secured the £90,000 Stop Ivory Project and the $26,000 Captive Predator breeding project while contributing to numerous other proposals. Laid the foundation for potential future partnership with the Natural Resources Governance Institute (NRGI) by securing a position as a peer reviewer for them.
Parliamentary Researcher | South African Parliament Nov 2011—Jan2013
Lecturer | University of Cape Town-Political Economy, Political Studies Department Jan 2010—Jul 2011
Lectured ‘Introductory Political Economy’ at the University of Cape Town (second half of course); Convened and taught ‘Politics of International Economic Relations’ at UCT (2010); Co-taught a Masters-level seminar in International Political Economy with Dr Harry Stephan at UCT. Head-tutored International Trade Bargaining.
Intern | South African Institute of International Affairs (GARP); wrote a review of the ‘resource curse’ Jan 2009—Jan 2010
Economics PhD candidate | University of Cape Town Oct 2013—Dec 2018 (submitted)‘Two petro-states diverge; explaining the institutional evolution of Angola and Nigeria’. Supervisor: Professor Don Ross. Co-supervisor:
Professor Brian Levy.
M.Phil. in Public Policy Graduated with distinction | University of Cape Town 2008—2009B.Com. in Philosophy, Politics & Economics | University of Cape Town 2002—2005
…results focused [Ross] delivers work outputs quickly and efficiently. [He] has strong values and defends what is just and right. He is passionate about his work and the thematic areas in which he works. He adds a lot of insight to discussions and debates and is knowledgeable about a broad range of topics. Ross is friendly and polite. He has a positive attitude and is a wonderful person to have in an office environment. – Romy Chevallier —Senior Researcher & Co-Author on numerous articles
Ross has performed exceptionally well in terms of strategic dissemination and media engagement. This relates not onlyto the quantity of media engagements, but also in usingstrategic, high-visibility online platforms like The Conversation. Ross is also particularly strong on using social media to disseminate his outputs.
–Alex Benkenstein – GARP Programme Head
Harvey R, ‘Greening South African Mining Through the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, in The Political Economy of Mining in South Africa (Johannesburg: MISTRA, 2018).
Harvey R, ‘The Economics of Captive Predator Breeding in South Africa’, Working Paper, SAIIA, August 2018, https://saiia.org.za/wp- content/uploads/2018/08/Harvey_180818_WorkingPaper_PredatorBreedingSA.pdf
Harvey R, ‘China and Ivory Trade: From Poacher to Game Keeper’ in Africa’s Ivory Trade: When Wildlife Meets Geopolitics, June 2018,https://www.ispionline.it/it/pubblicazione/china-and-ivory-trade-poacher-game-keeper-20606
Harvey R, ‘Transnational organized crime and the illicit wildlife trade’ in The Council of Councils Tenth Regional Conference Panelist Papers, November 5-7, 2017, available for download at https://www.cfr.org/councilofcouncils/events/p39166
Harvey R, Alden C and Y Wu, ‘Speculating a fire sale: Options for Chinese authorities in implementing a domestic ivory trade ban’,Ecological Economics, 141, 2017, 22-31, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.05.017
Harvey R, ‘Risks and fallacies associated with promoting a legalised trade in ivory’, Politikon, 2016,http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02589346.2016.1201378
Harvey R, ‘Why is labour strife so persistent in South Africa’s mining industry?’, Extractive Industries and Society, 2016,http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2016.04.008
Chevallier R and R Harvey, ‘Ensuring elephant survival through improving community benefits’, 2016, Occasional Paper, SAIIA.
Chevallier R and R Harvey, ‘Is community-based natural resource management viable in Botswana?’, 2016, Policy Insights, SAIIA.
Harvey R, ‘Mineral rights, rents and resources in South Africa’s development narrative’, 2015, Occasional Paper, SAIIA.
Harvey R, ‘Between a rock and a hard place: State-business relations in the South African Mining Sector’, in (eds) Pillay, Khadiagala,Naidoo & Southall, New South Africa Review 5, Wits University Press: Johannesburg, 2015.
Harvey R, ‘From diamonds to coal? Critical reflections on Botswana’s economic future’, The Extractive Industries and Society, 2015, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2015.06.009
Harvey R, Fossil Fuels are Dead, Long Live Fossil Fuels: Botswana’s Options for Economic Diversification, 2015, Research Report 20, SAIIA.
Harvey R, Preserving the African Elephant for Future Generations, 2015, Occasional Paper 219, SAIIA.
Harvey R, What Role for Natural Resources in Botswana’s Quest for Economic Diversification? 2015, Policy Briefing 135, SAIIA.
Bello O, Benkenstein A & R Harvey, ‘The security dimension of labour relations conflicts in Africa’s minerals sector: Experiences fromSouth Africa and Zambia’ in eds. Ewusi SK & JB Butera, Beyond State Building: Confronting Africa’s Governance and Socio-economic Challenges in the 21st Century, (Addis Ababa: PEACE Africa Programme, 2014).
Harvey R, ‘Natural resource rents and elite bargains in Africa: Exploring avenues for future research’, South African Journal of International Affairs, 2014: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10220461.2014.941001
Harvey R, Botswana’s coal: Dead in the water or economic game changer? 2014, Policy Insights 4.
Harvey R, From Natural Resource Dependence onto Diversified Economies: An Agenda for Future Research, 2014, Policy Insights 5, SAIIA.
Harvey R, Minefields of Marikana: Prospects for Forging a New Social Compact, 2014, Occasional Paper 183, SAIIA.
Harvey R, Future Oil Revenues and Political Dynamics in West and East Africa: A Slippery Slope?, 2014 Occasional Paper 188, SAIIA.
Harvey R, Mining and Development: Lessons Learnt from South Africa and Beyond, 2014, Policy Briefing 86, SAIIA.
Harvey R, Mining for Development in Guinea: An examination of the Simandou Iron Ore Project, 2014, Policy Briefing 83, SAIIA.
Harvey R, Releasing the Prisoners from their Dilemma: How to Resolve Labour Tensions in South Africa’s Mining Sector, 2013, Policy Briefing 81, SAIIA.
Harvey R, Marikana as a Tipping Point? The Political Economy of Labour Tensions in South Africa’s Mining Industry and How Best to Resolve Them, 2013, Occasional Paper 164, SAIIA.
Bello O, Benkenstein A and R Harvey, Assessing Competitive Resource Tenders as an Option for Mining Rights Allocation in South Africa, 2013, Occasional Paper 159, SAIIA.
Poster presentation at the Evidence to Action research event ahead of the 2018 London Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference Panel participant at London Mines and Money Conference, on political and social risks facing mining investment in South Africa Speech delivered to the audience at TUSK/SAIIA/Stop Ivory event pre-CoP17, CITES, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.‘A tale of two kingdoms’, OneLife HUB 2016, Jubilee Community Church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdijk0xfmBQSAIIA Submission to the Department of Mineral Resources on the revised draft reviewed Mining Charter (III), Pretoria, 2017.
SAIIA Submission to the ‘Committee of Inquiry into the possibility of a legalised trade in rhino horn’, Johannesburg, hosted by theDepartment of Environmental Affairs. 2015.
The political economy of natural resource governance: A South Korea/South Africa comparison, Johannesburg, hosted by the Development Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, 2015.
Mining for development in Guinea: An examination of the Simandou Iron Ore Project, Maputo, hosted by the African Iron and Steel Conference, Maputo, July 2015.
‘Why Botswana is no longer a safe haven for elephants’, The Conversation, 7 September 2018
‘South Africa’s role in the trade in lion bones: a neglected story’, The Conversation, 21 August 2018
‘How to break the impasse between opposing camps in ivory trade debate’, The Conversation, 21 May 2018
‘Can SA survive the fallout of US’s decision to leave Iran deal?’, Business Day TV, 10 May 2018
‘How to ensure communities living near mining activities get a better deal’, The Conversation, 7 May 2018
‘The outlook for SA’s mining industry, if Ramaphosa is quick, is bountiful’, Business Day, 7 February 2018
‘South Africa’s Rhino Paradox’, Project Syndicate, 22 September 2017
‘Why allowing the sale of horn stockpiles is a setback for rhinos in the wild’, The Conversation, 21 August 2017
‘Game theory suggests China should keep its ivory trade ban in place indefinitely’, The Conversation, 8 June 2017
‘The fourth industrial revolution: potential and risks for Africa’, The Conversation, 30 March 2017
‘Africa must embrace shifting world by exploiting ‘new’ commodities’, Business Day, 3 February 2017
Channel Africa panel interview, ‘Mining Challenges’, 13 February 2017: http://iono.fm/e/385901
‘China’s ban on domestic ivory trade is huge, but the battle isn’t won’, The Conversation, 12 January 2017. Data: 1,989 readers, 51tweets, 171 Facebook (FB) and 6 LinkedIn shares.
‘Saving the elephant: don’t forget local communities!’, with Alexander Rhodes, The Ecologist, 10 October 2016. Data: 344 Facebook shares.
‘Unpacking CITES and the ban on elephant ivory trade’, SABC TV interview, 26 September 2016.
‘Conservation decisions must protect the livelihoods of people living in Africa’, The Conversation 28 September 2016. Data: 2,859 readers, 66 tweets, 165 FB and 50 LinkedIn shares.
‘Can multilateral efforts save threatened wildlife?’ with Romy Chevallier, Council of Councils Global Memo, 19 September 2016.
‘What is CITES and why should we care?’ The Conversation Explainer, 18 September 2016. Data: 3,200 readers, 126 tweets, 718 FB and 32 LinkedIn shares.
‘African countries square up for battle over future of ivory trade ban’, written with Chris Alden, The Conversation, 10 August 2016. Data: 9,361 readers, 177 tweets, 5,063 FB and 61 LinkedIn shares.
‘Tanzania: Notes from the field’, SAIIA blog post with Romy Chevallier, SAIIA, 7 July 2016.
‘Ivory sales by Zimbabwe and Namibia could ‘create demand spike’, with Chris Alden, Business Day, 17 May 2016. ‘Labour law fuels strife on mines’, Business Day, 26 May 2016.
‘The case for burning ivory’, with Chris Alden, Project Syndicate, 29 April 2016.
‘Keeping the wolf from the door: Did President Zuma succeed?’, SAIIA, 16 February 2016.
‘Three mining changes that could net major investment’, Business Day, 8 February 2016.
‘SAIIA #CoffeeAmbush 5: The annual Mining Indaba 2016’, YouTube, 8 February 2016.
‘Behind the scenes: Botswana research feature’, SAIIA, 7 January 2016.
‘Policy reform is key for future of mining’, SAIIA, 15 December 2015.
‘Declining oil prices and the effect on African growth’, Africa Business Today TV channel, 6 November 2015. ‘Mining licence controversies continue to jeopardise industry’, SAIIA, 7 September 2015.
For all older media engagements, please see http://www.saiia.org.za/expertise/ross-harvey
Dr Oladiran Bello, Executive Director of Good Governance Africa, Nigeria, firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Don Ross, Professor of Economics, University College Cork, Ireland, email@example.com Professor Brian Levy, Academic Director of the Mandela School, University of Cape Town, Brian.Levy@uct.ac.za Professor Anthony Butler, Political Studies Department, University of Cape Town, Anthony.Butler@uct.ac.za